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Schaumburg employment lawyerStarting your own business or becoming your own boss can be a dream come true for many people. In the business world, contracts are essential because they outline the work to be performed as well as the prices that must be paid for services. In general, a contract clearly states the expectations of all the involved parties, whether it is for salaried, hourly, or freelance employees. Additionally, these legal documents can protect the parties if those expectations are not met by designating the consequences for any breach in the agreement. When one party does not hold up their end of the bargain, as they say, the other party may take legal action. An experienced business attorney can make sure that all the necessary information is included in a contract to safeguard against disagreements that may affect a business owner’s livelihood. 

Contract Basics

Verbal agreements or simply handshakes are not legally enforceable in the business world, since it can result in a “he said, she said” situation. For example, if a vendor agrees to perform a specific service but the cost is not put in writing, then a business owner may be faced with an astronomical bill or invoice to pay for services rendered. 

Similarly, employee contracts should include a policy manual that states what is and is not acceptable. For instance, the manual should clearly state any dress code, Internet and cell phone use policies, and other important regulations. It should also explain the company’s discipline policy. In most cases, failure to follow the outlined guidelines can lead to the termination of workers. If these issues are not addressed ahead of time, employees may take advantage of business owners by showing up late to work, making personal phone calls, taking long lunches, and more.  

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Posted on in Contract Disputes

Schaumburg business contract dispute lawyerA contract is defined as a legally binding agreement that recognizes and governs the rights and duties of those involved, whether it be two or more parties. An agreement typically involves the exchange of goods, services, money, or the promise of doing so later on. In today’s business world, contract disputes are fairly common, regardless of the industry. When an agreement is drafted and signed, this binds the parties together for a period of time. However, when one party deviates from the terms of the agreement, this is known as a breach of contract. Employees usually have to sign a contract before starting work with a company. This can also apply to freelancers or independent contractors.

Breach of Contract

Contract disputes typically arise as a result of one party not abiding by the terms of the contract. This can occur when a person does not perform his or her obligations or fails to comply with the rules in the agreement. In some cases, the legal agreement may have left out important information that causes a dispute. In other situations, a person may falsely represent his or her qualifications for a job or project.

Another major reason for breach of contract stems from the interpretation of the terms between the parties. When two parties disagree about the meaning of their respective responsibilities, that can cause problems. If an individual does not uphold his or her obligations outlined in the contract, the other party can file a lawsuit under the claim of a breach of contract.

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handbook, employment law, Illinois employment law attorneyAs a business owner, staffing your company properly is one of the keys to success. Your employees not only help you provide goods or services to your customers, they are also a representation of your company, both on and off the clock. To ensure that employees are living up to the expected standards, many employers will draft an employee handbook which addresses a staff member’s rights and responsibilities. As you develop a handbook, however, there some things you should keep in mind that can help you protect your company.

Illinois At-Will Employment

In Illinois, as in just about every state, employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will,” meaning that either party may end the relationship at any time and for any reason, other than those prohibited by law, or no reason. Of course, there may economic or reputation-related consequences that result from terminating employment unfairly, but, with certain exceptions, there is no legal liability incurred.

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If you are a business owner and you are considering utilizing a non-compete agreement, it is important to understand the implications of the agreement.  Employment law agreements to not compete often involve a specified duration of time, a specified geographic area, or combination of the two which limits your employee’s ability to work in the same industry in which your business operates.  Courts look to the interests of the employer, employee and the public in assessing the validity of non-compete agreements.  In Illinois, the enforceability of non-compete agreements depends on the reasonableness of the agreement.

Reasonableness is often in the eye of the beholder, but thankfully the Illinois courts have delineated some generalizations as to determining the reasonableness of a non-compete agreement.  As it is with so much of the law, reasonableness as it pertains to non-compete agreements is determined on a case-by-case basis by examining the totality of the circumstances underlying the agreement.  A non-compete agreement may be seen as reasonable and valid under one set of circumstances but unreasonable and invalid under another set of circumstance.

For example, in Reliable Fire Equipment Company v. Arredondo, 965 N.E.2d 393 (Ill. 2011), the Illinois Supreme Court cited numerous cases espousing the principal that Illinois courts will examine the non-compete agreements to consider whether it is reasonable only if the covenant: (1) is no greater than is required for the protection of a legitimate business interest of the employer-promisee; (2) does not impose undue hardship on the employee-promisor, and (3) is not injurious to the public.

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Knowing whether or not you’re eligible to receive overtime has long been an important issue for employees and employers alike. Businesses commonly label positions as exempt from receiving overtime, when the work that’s being performed in that position should be, by law, non-exempt. According to the Illinois Department of Labor, “when determining whether an exempt or non-exempt from receiving overtime, an employer in Illinois needs to review their employee’s classification against both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLAS) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.” There are several incidences in which employers don’t always take the initiative, and so it’s good for employers to review these laws as well.

According to the Minimum Wage Law, workers 18 and over must paid a minimum of $8.25 per hour; workers under 19 may be paid $.50 per hour less than the adult minimum wage. Most minimum wage jobs are non-exempt for workers 18 and over, which often gets overlooked. Although the nitty-gritty of state regulations differ, according to the University of California a non-exempt job is such:

  • one in which employees are paid for all hours worked
  • one in which employees are paid more frequently
  • one in which employees must take rest breaks and meal breaks

The same report states that, generally speaking, an exempt position is one in which employees:

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 995-1205

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