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creditA low credit score or a poor credit history can be very difficult to overcome. For many people with bad credit, the first step toward recovery is getting a new job that pays decent, reliable wages. Unfortunately, a low credit score can create a vicious cycle as some companies refuse to hire applicants with questionable credit histories. In some situations, such screenings make sense as a person’s ability to manage finances could directly impact his or her ability to do the job for which he or she is applying. In others, however, a person’s credit score has no bearing on his or her qualifications for the available position, and a recent Illinois appellate court has determined this to be the case for most retail sales positions.

Employment Credit Privacy Act

Back in 2010, then-Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure that prohibited employers in Illinois from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of their credit history. The Employee Credit Privacy Act was drafted by lawmakers in response to the national recession of the early 2000s that left many individuals with less than ideal credit scores. Under the Act, employers are not even permitted to run a credit check on an applicant unless a “satisfactory credit history is an established bona fide occupational requirement of a particular position.” Such positions generally include those in which an employee would handle large amounts of money without supervision or has access to personal, confidential, or financial information.

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sexual harassment, employment law, Illinois employment law attorneyWhen people think of sexual harassment, images of a staid workplace in which men rule come to mind, but sexual harassment is not only an issue within the scope of employment. Issues of sexual harassment have come to light in recent years especially in organizations like the military and universities, but people—most often women—can also fall prey to sexual harassers in public places as well. One of these places that has most recently come to the fore is on public transportation. Last year, Chicago-area women called for ad campaigns to raise awareness of sexual harassment cases on public CTA trains. While being sexual harassed is definitely uncomfortable … But is it illegal?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment under Title VII as applicable only in job places in which the employer employees 15 or more people. This can also include employment agencies, labor organizations, and federal, state, and local governments. Much has been written and said about the daily grind of many women’s’ commutes that include ubiquitous sexual harassment on public transit, though there are not yet laws in place, in Chicagoland or any other U.S. city, that expressly forbid and prohibit sexual harassment on public trains.

Such programs have, however, been rolled out in Great Britain and called for in France. Perhaps one reason that such laws have not been enacted in developed nations at this juncture is because the abuse is so commonplace that even women themselves have difficulty identifying it. When asked if they have been sexually harassed, many women will respond negatively; the same women respond positively when asked if they have been groped or pressed against in an unwanted manner.

If you suspect that sexual harassment may be taking place within your company, or you have been accused of allowing such behavior to continue, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Schaumburg employment law attorney today. At The Miller Law Firm, P.C., we are committed to helping employers and business owners dealing with any type of employee-related concerns. Call 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation with Attorney Richard J. Miller.   Sources: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/10/15/chicago-woman-campaigning-to-stop-sexual-harassment-on-cta/ http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm http://www.salon.com/2013/10/01/womens_daily_commutes_are_a_sexual_harassment_minefield/ http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/04/the-sad-ubiquity-of-sexual-harassment-on-public-transit/390804/

irish discrimination, discrimination, Illinois Employment lawyerWith the power of the internet and the determination to find answers, a Washington, D.C. girl challenged the work of a retired history professor regarding the prevalence of employment discrimination against Irish immigrants from the mid-19th century into the 20th century. What started with a Google search ultimately lead to the teen’s findings being published in the same journal that carried the historian’s thesis more than a decade ago.

An Urban Legend?

The professor, Richard Jensen, retired from the University of Illinois at Chicago, published a research project in 2002 that concluded that claims of victimhood for Irish Americans were overstated, and the that the now semi-iconic “No Irish Need Apply” signs rarely, if ever, graced the windows of establishments looking to hire help. In his research, Jensen found only a handful of examples of such blatant discrimination, either in shop windows or in printed want-ads. He determined that the myth of prejudice against the Irish was based on misperception and exaggeration, and perpetuated by popular drinking songs and lore.

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Posted on in Employment Discrimination

avoiding employee lawsuits, Illinois employment law attorneyA business owner never hires an employee expecting to be sued. Employment agreements are based on trust that both the employer and employee will act in accordance with the best interest of the company while adhering to all applicable laws. Over time, however, even the best employment-based relationships can break down, and in an ever-increasingly litigious environment, it is all too common for a disgruntled worker to file a lawsuit against the business owner.

Of course, many such lawsuits may be groundless to the point of frivolity, but they still require time, attention, and money to defend. While there may be no way to prevent frivolous litigation, there are some things a business owner can do to make sure neither employees nor the government have legitimate grounds upon which to file suit.

Non-Exempt Until Proven Otherwise

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No matter the size of your business, you should watch for potentially damaging situations that can stem from claims of workplace discrimination. In fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that there were 99,412 discrimination charges nationwide. The report indicated that 5.5 percent of those total charges originated from Illinois. Illinois exceeded the national average for charges in several areas such as sexual, age and disability discrimination. Conversely, in areas such as race, religion and equal pay, Illinois percentages were beneath the national average.
 Discrimination Type   Nationwide   Illinois 
Sexual 4.8% 26.24%
Age 7.3% 27.5%
Disability 5.3% 25.3%
Race 5.1% 2.5%
Religion 4.3% 3%
Equal Pay Act 6.6% 1.3%

                 Source: www.eeoc.gov

Three Tips for Employers to Avoid Discrimination Charges The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs workplace matters. In workplace discrimination cases, employers have the burden to prove that they are not violating the FLSA. An experienced employment attorney can help employers defend against such claims. Here are three tips to help you spot or avoid a potential problem:
  1. Listen – If any employee brings up or you hear about incidents or concerns regarding discrimination in your business, pay attention. Do not take any claim lightly.
  2. Communicate – Be sure to communicate to your organization that acts of discrimination will not be tolerated. Be sure to follow up on any conversations and concerns addressed by an employee and seek an equitable resolution.
  3. Be Proactive – Examine your business structure. Connect with a reputable Illinois employment lawyer to ensure your business is in compliance with employment laws and seek legal advice about potential issues.
If you are an employer and need legal assistance in dealing with discrimination claims, or have concerns about workplace compliance with Illinois and federal employment laws, contact an aggressive, experienced Schaumburg employment defense attorney today.

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

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