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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:

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Schaumburg, IL employer defense attorneyIn the United States, several measures have been put in place in an effort to prevent discrimination of any kind in the workplace. Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or prospective employee in a prejudicial manner because of his or her race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or other factors. These prejudices can affect hiring, firing, promotions, salary, benefits, job training, or assignments. If any employee feels like he or she has been discriminated against, he or she has the right to file a complaint and/or a lawsuit against the company, which can result in negative consequences toward the employer.

Types of Discrimination

There are many different aspects that can serve as a basis for discrimination, which is prohibited by law. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace discrimination can be based on:

  • Age: Federal law and Illinois state law prohibit employers from treating employees less favorably because of their age. This law applies to employees who are age 40 or older.

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Schaumburg, IL FLSA litigation attorneyToday, there are more mothers in the workforce than ever before. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 70 percent of all mothers with children under the age of 18 participated in the workforce in 2013, compared with only 47 percent in 1975. Typically, the older the children are, the more likely the mother is to have a job, because taking care of a young child is much more involved than taking care of a school-aged child. One of the issues that working mothers of young children face is breastfeeding. Prior to 2010, working mothers who nursed their children did not have many (if any) protections for expressing their breast milk during work hours. Now, employers must follow certain rules set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) concerning nursing mothers in the workplace.

FLSA Requirements for Nursing Mothers in the Workplace

According to the amended Section 7 of the FLSA, employers are required to give breastfeeding mothers “reasonable break time” to allow them to express breast milk for a nursing child. The Act states that employers must do this for at least one year after the child is born, and the mother is entitled to this break period each time she needs to express milk. The Act also states that employers are required to provide a private place other than a bathroom for the mother to express her breast milk.

Who Is Covered?

Only those employers who have 50 or more employees are required to comply with this law, unless the company can prove that it would cause undue hardship. Also, only women who are considered to be “non-exempt” are covered. Typically, this means that women who are salaried workers who make at least $455 per week and who are employed in certain supervisory positions are not covered by this nursing law.

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employee-reimbursement-lawIllinois recently passed a law that will soon require businesses to reimburse their employees for any business-related expenses paid for out of pocket. As of now, only seven other states (California, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Massachusetts and Iowa) and the District of Columbia have similar laws in place. The law is an amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) and goes into effect January 1, 2019.

Amendment Closes Loophole in Act

Prior to this amendment, there was nothing in the IWPCA that specified expense reimbursement. Because of this, some employers would not reimburse workers since it was not covered under the act, and employees would then sue the employer for violation of contract. The employee would often end up incurring more expenses like attorneys fees, which would not be reimbursed.

Employers Must Reimburse “Necessary Expenditures”

The new law states employers are required to reimburse “necessary expenditures or losses” which the employee incurs during any business activity directly related to the work they do for the employer. The law states necessary expenditures are all reasonable expenses the employee racks up while performing the duties of his or her job. It also states employers are not responsible for losses that are the employee’s own fault, due to normal wear or theft, unless the theft occurred because of employer negligence.

Employees Must Comply With Employer Policies

Even though the new law states employers must reimburse their workers, employees must comply with any written reimbursement policies the employer has in place. The law specifically states employees are not entitled to reimbursement if there are official policies the employee did not follow. The law also says employers are not liable unless they authorized the expenditure the employee seeks reimbursement for, or if they violate their own reimbursement policy.

Contact a Schaumburg, IL Employment Law Attorney

This new law can have a significant impact on company expenditures. If you have employees who use their own vehicle, computer, cell phone or other equipment, an Illinois employment law lawyer can examine your company policies and help protect you against employee expenditure lawsuits. At the Miller Law Firm, P.C., we can determine if your existing employee reimbursement policies are sufficient, and if they are not, assist in drafting new procedures in accordance with the new law. Contact our office at 847-995-1205 to schedule a free consultation.

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Illinois small business employment law attorneyThey say that “time is money,” and that is true in all aspects of life. No matter whether you are discussing your personal life or your business, saving time ultimately saves you money. Especially in a business aspect, proper time management enables you to get more work accomplished efficiently, which can earn your business more money and cut down on overhead costs while ensuring that you meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here are a few time management tips that will help you in both your business and your personal life:

Ditch the Smart Device

Unless your business operates directly on your smartphone, you should make it a habit to keep it out of reach, especially during business hours. Employee cell phone usage should be limited as well. Even the best worker has a hard time avoiding the temptation of checking their device at work. Remove the temptation by either requiring that cell phones be left in one’s vehicle or locker or kept turned off at work. Lead by example and follow the rule yourself to gain optimum efficiency.

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
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