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Originally Published: 21 July 2020 -- Updated: July 7, 2021

On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago became $15-an-hour. For servers and other workers who receive tips, the minimum wage is $9-an-hour. In Cook County, the minimum wage is $13-an-hour for regular employees and $6.60 for workers who receive tips. The state minimum wage in Illinois is currently $11-an-hour with a $1 increase scheduled to take effect January 1 of next year. By 2025, workers in Illinois are all set to receive $15-an-hour.

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Illinois employment attorneyOn March 23, 2021, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Employee Background Fairness Act. The new law adds an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) regarding how an employer can address a potential employee’s criminal conviction record. Under the IHRA, a person’s arrest record can not be held against them in the hiring process or once they have been hired, however, the new law extends these protections to a person’s conviction record. The new law went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signing.

Any individual – whether going through the hiring process or already working for an employee – who feels that they are being discriminated against because of a prior conviction or convictions may file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).

The law does have two exceptions where an employer can consider an individual’s conviction record either during the hiring process or after that individual is already employed by the company:

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Schaumburg employment defense attorneyBusinesses must follow certain standards and procedures in order to remain open. A class action lawsuit is a legal claim made by employees who are seeking to collectively receive compensation from an employer for the same problem. This type of case can be in response to a faulty or defective product. A collective action is a slightly different procedure used in cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is a comprehensive U.S. labor law that creates the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours in a week. It also prohibits the employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.” Companies must uphold these guidelines or risk incurring penalties or legal action.

Class Action

Class action lawsuits may be brought in federal court if the claim pertains to federal law or they meet specific criteria. A class action lawsuit automatically assumes an employee is a part of the affected group unless he or she “opts out.” This can be done by signing a document stating that he or she does not want to participate.

A class action lawsuit is initiated when one or more named plaintiffs file a claim against the defendant(s), all of whom suffered the same injury or damages. Once the complaint is filed, the named plaintiff(s) must file a motion for class certification. The defendants may object to the motion for class certification based on several factors.

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Schaumburg employment attorneySeveral changes to Illinois laws went into effect on January 1, 2020. This legislation affected many different areas of the criminal justice system, including employment law. Employers are required to follow certain rules and uphold standards in order to maintain a good business standing. Companies are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed in 1938 to improve workplace conditions. Since that time, there has been a much greater focus on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. Signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019, the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) was enacted at the first of the year and is intended to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment while providing greater protections for Illinois employees. Depending on the circumstances, some employers may need to revise certain policies, training, and reporting as they relate to their employees in order to comply with the WTA.

Details of the WTA

Upon their hiring, employees may be required to sign an employment contract that describes the terms of their employment and requires them to follow company policies. The WTA prohibits any contract or agreement that restricts an employee from reporting unlawful conduct or employment practices or testifying about alleged criminal conduct. In addition, the WTA limits the use of non-disclosure or arbitration clauses that would potentially require an employee to waive or mediate a current or future claim regarding an unlawful employment practice.

The WTA allows for confidentiality provisions in employment agreements with prospective and current employees if they comply with specific requirements. Provisions that would be considered against public policy may be included if the employer and the current or potential employee both agree to these terms in writing, and the agreement reflects “actual, knowing, and bargained-for consideration” from both parties. The agreement must also state that the employee has the right to:

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Schaumburg employment lawyerSince the Industrial Revolution that took place between the late 18th century and the mid 19th century, the United States has seen an emphasis placed on improving the lives of workers. There are numerous state and federal laws that have been enacted to protect the rights of employees, including laws about worker safety, wage and work hour standards, discrimination policies, and other things that restrict what employers can and cannot do. Like any other laws, workplace laws are always evolving. A recent public act that was signed into law in Illinois will add new employment laws and amend some that already exist.

Workplace Transparency Act

The Workplace Transparency Act was signed into law by the governor this past August. The new law will apply to all contracts, waivers, agreements, or clauses entered into after January 1, 2020 concerning sexual harassment violations or any other Title VII or human rights violations. Employees will be prohibited from unilaterally requiring arbitration (a form of alternative dispute resolution) for claims that arise from violations of any law that is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act

Beginning July 1, 2020, some hospitality and casino industry employers will face new laws concerning the safety of employees. Employees will now be required to be given a personal safety and notification device that they can use to summon for help. The sexual harassment and discrimination training will also be changed for employees in this industry. They will need to be expressly informed of their right to leave a work area if they perceive danger. Employers will also be required to take certain measures to protect their employees from guests who have engaged in sexual harassment and allow them time off if they wish to pursue legal action against such guests.

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