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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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marijuana use, unemployment, Illinois employment law attorneyAs a business owner, you have the right to create workplace policies that encourage a safe and productive work environment. For many employers, this means a complete ban on alcohol and controlled substances on the job. The use of drugs or alcohol while working can be extremely dangerous, and, in a large number of companies, grounds for severe discipline up to and including termination. Recreational use away from the workplace, however, is a different story, at least according to a recent Illinois appellate court decision.

Marijuana While on Vacation

The lawsuit before the appeals court was based on the denial of unemployment benefits to man who verbally acknowledged the use of marijuana on personal time. His case, Eastham vs. Housing Authority of Jefferson County, claimed that he was wrongfully denied unemployment compensation, as his marijuana use did not violate his employer’s drug-free workplace policy.

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Posted on in Employment Lawyer

With the end of the year around the corner, employers and employees alike are looking back through 2013 to identify trends that help them to look forward. According to US News and World Report, one of the biggest changes in employment and the job market as of late doesn’t involve the number of jobs available, but the type of positions being offered. “A new study from the job-matching service TheLadders suggests… that once-ubiquitous middle-management jobs—with titles like “manager” and “director”—are being replaced by skill-specific positions in the technology sector,” according to US News and World Report.

This arguably echoes similar sociological debates about the decline of the middle class and available positions that retain a certain degree of responsibility but that aren’t necessarily high-stress. TheLadders study found that between 2008 and 2013, available job titles that contained the word “manager” had a 25 percent less growth rate than the average growth of job titles on average. “The growth rate of titles containing the word “director” is 50 percent lower,” reports US News and World Report. Of the top 10 percent of growing job titles, less than 2 percent were managerial or directorial positions.

So what does this mean for the average American laborer? On one hand, it could mean the decline of jobs that traditionally provide for a solidly middle-class income. Managerial and directorial positions are in some cases being forsaken for contract positions that focus on technological skills and tasks. Technology, that is, is “the new middle management,” according to US News and World Report. Titles included in TheLadders report that didn’t even exist a decade ago include Development Operations Engineer, iOS Developer, and Data Scientist. Most of these positions end up going to younger employees, many of whom are contracted and not salaried.

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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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Posted on in Employment Lawyer

Illinois_Employment_Law_LawyerIn the wake of the 2008 economic recession, employers across the state of Illinois were forced to layoff thousands of workers, leaving many Illinois families without steady income and without prospects. At the end of 2011 alone, more than 1,100 workers at 10 companies lost their jobs, according to the Chicago Tribune—including massive cuts at Sun-Times Media, which cut 456 jobs in the Chicago area at the end of that year. Prospects weren’t much better at the beginning of 2012, when three major Illinois employers announced they’d layoff 260 employees, according to a different Tribune article.

Things weren’t looking up in the beginning of this year either, according to yet another Tribune article: “while the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent [in February 2013], the jobless rate in Illinois rose to 9 percent.” Crain’s Chicago Business reported, as cited in the Tribune, that while downtown Chicago was attracting more and more wealthy residents, poorer residents were fleeing the city. This is likely because while the Chicago area has gained jobs in retail, hospitality, and professional services in the past five years, the area has lost “thousands of good-paying jobs in construction, manufacturing, and government.”

There may be little recourse for the majority of Illinois residents who lost jobs in the manufacturing sector, but there might be for some. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, requires that all employers “provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.” This is meant to allow families time to adjust to the loss of employment and seek other jobs. WARN allows disaffected workers to “enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to compete successfully in the job market.”

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