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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:

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Schaumburg employment law attorney for independent contractorsDepending on the industry or field of work, companies may hire employees or independent contractors (often called freelancers) or even a combination of both. Although either type of worker may perform similar job duties, it is important to understand the distinction between them as an employer. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) considers several factors to determine whether a worker is designated as an employee or an independent contractor. Some of the main differences between these types of workers include how they are paid, taxes, and insurance benefits. Every business is unique, and what works for one company may not work for another. If you are an Illinois business owner, it is imperative that you understand the laws and how they relate to your employees. In some situations, utilizing independent contractors may benefit your business in the long run.

Cost Savings

One of the major benefits of using independent contractors versus salaried employees is the cost savings. As a business owner, when you hire a worker who is classified as an employee, you have to pay additional expenses that you would not pay for an independent contractor. These costs include the following:

  • Medical/dental/vision insurance
  • Equipment/supplies/office space
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Unemployment compensation insurance

Staffing Flexibility

In some cases, a company may only need workers for certain periods of time throughout the year. During these “busy times,” an employer can hire personnel based on fluctuating workloads. This alleviates having regular employees sitting around doing nothing during the “slow times.” In addition, independent contractors or freelancers may possess special skills or knowledge related to a project, reducing the time spent training newly hired employees. Using freelancers can also help you avoid potential lawsuits that can accompany layoffs or firings, since it is considered “contracted” or temporary work.

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Illinois employment attorney minimum wageIn the state of Illinois and throughout the United States, there are certain protections that are guaranteed to employees. Illinois has specific laws that apply to most employees regarding wages and payment. In addition, the federal government has laws that offer further protections to employees’ wages and workers’ rights to fairness in the workplace. Though not all employers are required to comply, the vast majority of employers are expected to adhere to these rules. If an employee feels as if they are not being treated fairly in regards to wages, they have the right to file a complaint with the state and/or federal government. This can spell trouble for companies, as they could face serious consequences if they are found to have knowingly violated employment laws. Here are a few Illinois wage laws that all employers should be familiar with to avoid such legal ramifications:

Minimum Wage Law

Both the state of Illinois and the federal government have laws relating to the minimum hourly wage an employee can be paid. While the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Illinois has set its own minimum wage, which, as of January 1, 2020, is $9.25 for any worker who is at least 18 years old. If an employee is under the age of 18, the minimum wage is $8.00. The Illinois minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2020.

Overtime Pay

Overtime hours and compensation can be a gray area for many employers and employees. Both state and federal laws specify that overtime pay is owed to any employee who works more than 40 hours in one workweek. Overtime pay must be “time-and-a-half” of the employee’s usual hourly rate. For example, if an employee’s normal hourly rate is $10.00 per hour, and they worked overtime, they would be paid $15.00 for every hour over 40 hours that they worked.

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Illinois employment lawyerEmployment law is complex and can include many different types of lawsuits, including class action and collective action lawsuits. A class action lawsuit is a single lawsuit that is taken to court to represent a group of employees who have all experienced the same alleged actions taken by the employer. A class action lawsuit is typically used when it would be impractical to take each individual case to court. Instead, an attorney or a group of attorneys is used to represent all employees who are involved in the lawsuit. Protecting yourself as a business is extremely important if you find yourself the target of a class action employment lawsuit.

What Is the Difference Between a Class Action and Collective Action Lawsuit?

These two types of lawsuits are similar to each other, though they do differ in a few ways. In a class action lawsuit, one employee can file a lawsuit for everyone who works for the same company. Once the court grants permission for the case to proceed, all of the employees included in the lawsuit will be notified of their ability to “opt-out” or not participate in the lawsuit.

In a collective action lawsuit, employees who want to participate in the lawsuit have to sign a legal document to “opt-in” or agree to participate in the suit. In a class action lawsuit, all employees are automatically considered to be part of the class unless they specifically state they do not want to be.

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Schaumburg employment lawyerSince the Industrial Revolution that took place between the late 18th century and the mid 19th century, the United States has seen an emphasis placed on improving the lives of workers. There are numerous state and federal laws that have been enacted to protect the rights of employees, including laws about worker safety, wage and work hour standards, discrimination policies, and other things that restrict what employers can and cannot do. Like any other laws, workplace laws are always evolving. A recent public act that was signed into law in Illinois will add new employment laws and amend some that already exist.

Workplace Transparency Act

The Workplace Transparency Act was signed into law by the governor this past August. The new law will apply to all contracts, waivers, agreements, or clauses entered into after January 1, 2020 concerning sexual harassment violations or any other Title VII or human rights violations. Employees will be prohibited from unilaterally requiring arbitration (a form of alternative dispute resolution) for claims that arise from violations of any law that is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act

Beginning July 1, 2020, some hospitality and casino industry employers will face new laws concerning the safety of employees. Employees will now be required to be given a personal safety and notification device that they can use to summon for help. The sexual harassment and discrimination training will also be changed for employees in this industry. They will need to be expressly informed of their right to leave a work area if they perceive danger. Employers will also be required to take certain measures to protect their employees from guests who have engaged in sexual harassment and allow them time off if they wish to pursue legal action against such guests.

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
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Phone: (847) 995-1205

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