Illinois-employment-lawyer-minCOVID-19, or coronavirus 2019, is a respiratory illness that can spread from animal to person or person to person. The virus was first identified during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Currently, health officials are working on a vaccine for it, but that may take up to a year before it is approved. There is no doubt the virus has had a significant impact on people’s lives since it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here in Illinois, Governor Pritzker said he is filing emergency rules that will allow those who cannot work because they are sick with coronavirus to collect unemployment insurance benefits to the full extent permitted by federal law. This would mean employers are required to pay workers who go on sick leave due to coronavirus.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

It is imperative that a person who thinks they may have coronavirus seek medical attention to avoid life-threatening complications and reduce the spread of it. President Trump recently announced that he was halting air travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days. In addition, he advised citizens to stay away from large gatherings in an effort to contain the virus and avoid further cases of it.

The following upper respiratory symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

Taking Time Off to Quarantine

For everyone’s safety, state and federal officials are urging anyone who feels sick or exhibits the above symptoms to stay home from work. City and county personnel, as well as unions, are calling for the state to pass more stringent protections for workers. For example, as much as 15 days of paid sick leave so that employees can safely quarantine.

Allowing employees to receive unemployment benefits while they are unable to work because of coronavirus could mitigate the financial impact for employees who do not have paid sick leave or who might have already used their paid time off (PTO) for sickness. Since the outbreak, several large corporations have announced that they will provide paid sick leave for workers who contract the virus. Walmart said it would give up to two weeks of pay; Target said it would give 14 days.

The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of serious medical complications if they contract the virus. Some patients develop pneumonia, while others can suffer multi-organ failure and even death. With public safety as the top priority, it is important to note that young and healthy individuals can also carry the virus and infect less healthy friends or relatives. In some cities, such as San Francisco, residents have been ordered to shelter-in-place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

In an effort to improve workplace conditions, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1938 so employees could maintain a quality of life for their overall health and well-being.

If an employer violates the regulations of the FLSA, investigations can cost an employer in both time and money. Companies are responsible for keeping a safe and clean working environment for their workers. In some cases, an employee may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim if he or she was exposed to and contracted coronavirus on the job.

Contact a Schaumburg, IL Employer Defense Lawyer

The novel (new) coronavirus has affected tens of thousands of people across the globe, from minor to severe cases. If any of your employees have contracted coronavirus, you need to understand their legal rights regarding sick leave. The Miller Law Firm, P.C. is well-versed in the latest changes to Illinois laws that affect business owners. That is why it is important to speak with our knowledgeable Illinois employment law attorneys to ensure you are not violating your workers’ rights in these challenging times. Call us today at 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation.

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/FAQs/Pages/Employee-Sick-Leave-Act-FAQs.aspx

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg-hinz-politics/pritzker-moves-require-paid-sick-leave-during-coronavirus-outbreak

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-changes-walmart-starbucks-employee-benefits-2020-3

Posted in Employer defense, Employment Lawyer, Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA, Illinois employment lawyer, Unemployment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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:

  • Report a good-faith belief of criminal conduct or an illegal employment practice to the appropriate authorities.

  • Participate in governmental proceedings to enforce anti-discrimination laws.

  • Provide factual statements as required by law, regulation, or legal procedure.

  • Seek or receive professional legal counsel.

An employment termination agreement may also include confidentiality provisions, as long as this confidentiality is preferred by both parties and is agreed upon by both the employer and the employee. The employee must receive consideration in return for confidentiality, and he or she will have the right to have an attorney review the agreement. An agreement must be provided in writing, and an employee must be given 21 days to consider the agreement before signing it.

The Act also mandates that all Illinois employers provide annual anti-sexual harassment training to all employees starting in 2020. The WTA changes the current training obligations to widen the scope of training to include not only sexual harassment, but unlawful discrimination and harassment as classified according to the Illinois Human Rights Act. It is important to note that although the WTA covers almost all Illinois employers, it does not apply to employment contracts that are governed by the National Labor Relations Act or the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act.

Contact an Illinois Employment Law Attorney

Workplace harassment is an important topic that all employers should be aware of in order to avoid any violations. The goal of the new Illinois Workplace Transparency Act is to eliminate harassment and better protect employees. If you own a company, and you are facing charges of workplace harassment or other infractions, it is imperative that you seek competent legal counsel. The experienced Miller Law Firm P.C. has handled numerous employment law cases to favorable outcomes for business owners. Our skilled Schaumburg, IL employment defense lawyers are well-versed in the changes to the laws that impact employers. We will advocate on your behalf to efficiently resolve any employment disputes you might be facing, and we will help you preserve your livelihood. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 847-995-1205.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=082000960HArt%2E+1&ActID=4008&ChapterID=68&SeqStart=50000&SeqEnd=299902

Posted in Employee Rights, Employer defense | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Schaumburg employment lawyerOwning your own business and being your own boss can be very rewarding, regardless of the field of work. In the United States, there are certain rules and regulations that control how a company should operate, and these guidelines may be different depending on the industry. All companies that operate under the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to keep specific records for a designated period of time for covered, non-exempt employees. Essential documentation may include an employee’s contact information, salary, work hours, and job duties. Record keeping might seem like a basic task, but if it is not done properly, this can lead to significant consequences. An experienced employment law attorney can help a business owner avoid any civil or criminal actions that they could face.

Important Employee Information

For the majority of business owners, their companies are their livelihood. In many cases, the foundation of their success lies in their employees. Therefore, they must make sure to take care of their workers by following standards and procedures that govern their industry. According to the United States Department of Labor, employee payroll information that contains important documents about each employee in your company should be kept for at least three years. Good record keeping practices can help a company maintain a strong reputation, allowing for future growth. Some of the main aspects of employment records should include:

  • The employee’s name, address, and Social Security number
  • The employee’s dates of employment
  • The employee’s regular pay rate (salary or hourly)
  • The amount of wages paid
  • The amount of taxes taken out of an employee’s paycheck
  • The amount of overtime paid
  • The employee’s job duties

Penalties for Negligent Records Management

A comprehensive records management process can help a company operate in an efficient and effective manner. Improper records management can lead to unorganized documentation, the loss of vital information, and stressed employees and employers. If company owners fail to maintain their employment records, they may face criminal charges or civil lawsuits, depending on the circumstances. Poor record keeping can also result in the following consequences:

  • Imprisonment due to tax evasion
  • Misuse of funds leading to bankruptcy
  • Financial penalties for non-compliance

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends that companies and individuals save financial records for up to seven years. However, certain documents might need to be saved for a longer period of time, as they may be necessary for filing taxes or if an audit is needed.

Contact a Schaumburg, IL Employment Defense Lawyer

Owning and running a company involves many responsibilities, including maintaining detailed information and reports on employees, as well as daily transactions and activities. Accurate record keeping can be the difference between a business failing or succeeding. That is why you should consult with the attorneys at Miller Law Firm P.C. Our dedicated Illinois employment law attorneys understand the intricacies of business law for both small, family-owned companies and large corporations. Attorney Richard J. Miller is a former finance executive with valuable insight on business operations and the criminal charges that can result from poor record keeping. Call us today at 847-995-1205 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.recordnations.com/2017/08/bad-records-management/

https://www.foxfinancegroup.com.au/articles/importance-of-business-record-keeping.html

Posted in Record Keeping | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off