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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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Schaumburg, IL employment law lawyerTrying to balance work and family life can be a challenge for anyone, but when an employee’s family member is sick or there is a birth in the family, it can be even more daunting. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created to mitigate some of the stresses that come with certain life circumstances. There are caveats to the FMLA, however. For example, in the private sector, the FMLA only applies to employers who have 50 or more employees. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for that employee to be covered by the FMLA. Only specific scenarios are covered by the FMLA, and as an employer, it is important you are aware of these situations.

Birth of a Child

When an employee has a child, he or she is eligible to take leave to bond with and care for that child, no matter if the worker is the mother or the father. However, the employee must take his or her leave within 12 months after the child is born. This type of leave must be taken as a block of time (consecutive days or months) unless you as the employer agree to intermittent leave.

Placement of a Child for Adoption or Foster Care

An employee who takes leave to care for or bond with an adopted or foster child may do so before the placement occurs if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. This can include the employee attending counseling sessions, appearing in court, traveling to another country to complete an adoption, or consulting with his or her attorney. This type of leave also expires 12 months after the placement of the child.

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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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Illinois minimum wage violation lawyerFor many young Americans, working at a part-time job is an important milestone of growing up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 20.9 million 16- to 24-year-olds who were employed in July 2018. These youths are working at jobs that range from retail to the food industry, most of which are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among other things, the FLSA established a minimum wage rule which states that employers may not pay employees less than the current federal minimum wage. In 1996, the FLSA was amended to allow employers to pay employed youths less than the normal minimum wage, but when doing so, employers must follow certain rules.

Federal Minimum Wage Laws

The FLSA states that no employer is permitted to pay its employees less than $7.25 per hour, except if that employee is considered to be a “youth.” According to the FLSA, an employer may pay a person who is under the age of 20 a lower wage for a specific, yet limited period of time. An employer may pay a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of that youth’s employment. After 90 days, the employer is required to pay the youth the same minimum wage as everyone else, $7.25 per hour, unless a state or local law states otherwise.

Illinois Minimum Wage Laws

In the state of Illinois, the minimum wage is currently $8.25 for workers who are over the age of 18. Workers who are under the age of 18 are permitted to be paid $0.50 less than the minimum wage, meaning they can be paid $7.75 per hour. Illinois youth minimum wage has no time limit, so youths may be paid $0.50 less until they reach the age of 18. Since the Illinois youth minimum wage is higher than the federal youth minimum wage, Illinois employers must follow Illinois law.

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