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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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Posted on in Minimum Wage

minimum wage, Illinois employment law attorneyIn late October, Cook County officials elected to join the city of Chicago in adopting a plan to increase the minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2020. While the decision is being heralded by many as an important step toward increasing the quality of life for the county’s lowest-paid employees, it is also raising a number of concerns for several local communities.

Beginning in July 2017, the new minimum wage in Cook County will be $10 per hour, a substantial increase from $8.25—the current statewide minimum wage. In 2018, the minimum wage will go up to $11 per hour, with $1 per hour increases each year until 2020. The problem, however, is that a number of villages and towns straddle the line between Cook County and other surrounding counties. The line between Cook County and Lake County, for example, runs directly through the village of Barrington. The city of Elgin sits on the border between Cook County and Kane County.

Tough Choices

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Although the country is well on the way toward full financial recovery after the economic crisis that rocked nearly every American industry in 2008 and 2009, unemployment numbers are still high. While there is a significant safety net for the unemployed in America, which includes benefits, unemployment insurance, and temporary compensation, that could be changing at the end of 2013. “Unless the president and Congress act before the end of the year, more than a million Americans will have the plug pulled on their jobless benefits the week after Christmas, and many others who’ve recently become unemployed or will become unemployed next year will see them sharply curtailed,” according to US News and World Report.

The difficult thing about a recession is that at the same time that people are losing their jobs, there are less available jobs in most markets. Unemployment spells get longer, and “income losses from unemployment drain purchasing power from the economy,” reports US News and World Report, which of course makes “an economic downturn worse and the recovery from it weaker.” While many people who lost their jobs during the recession lost their jobs solely as a result of cutbacks and the tightening of corporate accounts, if you feel as if you’ve been wrongly terminated it’s important that you contact an employment attorney immediately.

The changes that will happen if Congress fails to change the current legislation primarily regard the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. EUC was enacted in 2008, just as the recession began to hit. The money was available in states “with particularly high unemployment rates,” according to US News and World Report. Illinois is in a class only with Nevada when it comes to the comparison of the maximum duration of unemployment insurance allowed—Illinois and Nevada are the only states that guarantee 70–73 weeks of unemployment insurance. This, of course, leaves Illinois residents more protected than residents of other states in which the insurance duration is shorter. In North Carolina, for example, the duration is only 19 weeks.

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