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Schaumburg small business lawyerPresident Trump signed a new stimulus bill into law just after Christmas, releasing another $900 billion in stimulus funds into the economy and preventing a government shutdown. The government would have shut down just before the new year if the President had not taken action. In addition to containing money to fund government operations, the spending package also includes emergency relief money that finances a new round of stimulus checks, unemployment aid, and small business assistance. A qualified employment attorney can help you learn how this new legislation may apply to you and your company, possibly saving your livelihood during this unprecedented time.

Financial Assistance for Struggling Businesses

The new deal from Congress will deliver approximately $900 billion in relief funds in an effort to help families and businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this round of stimulus checks issued by the U.S. government, Americans will receive up to $600 per person for those earning $75,000 or less per year in addition to $600 for each minor dependent. This is similar to the country’s initial stimulus package months prior.

The relief package also includes an extension of unemployment insurance and a federal unemployment insurance bonus of $300 per week. The economic fallout due to the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted small businesses in 2020. In response, Congress has allocated an additional $284 billion in loans for those business owners who are struggling to issue paychecks and cover their business’ rent.

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Schaumburg employment lawyerWhen you own a company, there are federal, state, and local laws you must follow in order to stay in business. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), U.S. employees have the right to receive a minimum hourly wage, in addition to “time-and-a-half” overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours within a seven-day period. It also prohibits the employment of minors in “oppressive child labor” conditions. If business owners do not adhere to these rules and regulations, then workers may file lawsuits against their employers if they can show that the company is in violation. However, the company can defend against such charges as long as they can prove they did not violate any laws. An experienced employment attorney can help employers with providing this “burden of proof” in Illinois.

Potential Violations

There are several ways that a company can be in violation of FLSA rules, such as not paying its workers at least minimum wage or classifying them as non-exempt or contractors when they should be exempt or salaried. In other cases, upper management may use harassment tactics or discriminatory language to intimidate employees into doing certain tasks. The main areas in which an employer can be sued include:

  • Wages

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Illinois employment lawyerSometimes there are situations in which an employee is unable to work because of personal health issues or those of a family member. Many people worry that taking extensive time off from work will cause them to lose their job or face repercussions when they get back to work. Fortunately, the United States government has enacted what is called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act helps millions of Americans get the time off they need without having to worry about unfair treatment from their employers.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Enacted in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows certain employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. Under the FMLA, it is illegal for employers to retaliate or to demote a person for taking leave covered under the act. Under certain situations, employers are permitted to require their employees to use accrued paid leave, such as sick leave or vacation.

Covered Employers and Eligible Employees

There are certain criteria employers must meet in order to be subject to the FMLA. Employers covered by the FMLA include:

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wrongful termination in Illinois, Illinois employer defense attorneyLike many states, Illinois is an “at-will” employment state. In simple terms, at-will means that, unless there is a specific agreement in place, employment may be terminated by either the employer or employee at any time, without advance notice, and for almost any reason or no reason at all. Employment contracts, employee handbooks, and verbal promises may create exceptions to an at-will arrangement, and situations may still arise in which an employee was wrongfully terminated.

According to Illinois law, it is illegal to fire an employee on the basis of certain protected characteristics. Among others, such characteristics include race, religion, gender, nationality, and disability. In order to be considered a wrongful termination, however, the employee must be completely terminated from the company. Demotions or pay decreases based on illegal discrimination are not considered under Illinois labor laws. Instead, such cases may be investigated by the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

A wrongful termination suit may also be pursued if the firing violated public policy. Retaliatory termination for whistle-blowing or filing a good faith workers’ compensation claim are examples of public policy violations. Other public policies may not be so clearly defined and may be considered based on the individual circumstances of the case.

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