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minimum wage, Illinois employment law attorneyAs a conscientious employer, you realize that your staff deserves to be compensated fairly for their contributions to your business. In some industries and companies, fair compensation may be at or near the minimum wage set by the federal, state, or local government, while in others, fair compensation is much greater than that. Some employers, it seems, are willing to ignore labor laws in the interest of increasing their bottom line, but as a recent settlement in New York shows, getting caught can be a costly proposition.

Long-Awaited Justice

It took more than five years of legal wrangling, but 18 car wash employees from the New York and New Jersey region are set to split a settlement of $1.65 million for wage theft. The settlement was finalized in federal court, and will provide each worker an average of more than $91,000, including emotional distress. All of the workers were Latin American immigrants working at four different car wash locations in New York and New Jersey, all owned by the same company.


uber, Illinois employment law attorneyThe Uber driver that initiated a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company almost three years ago has come out against the $100 million class-action settlement to which he had previously agreed. The man now believes that the deal was misrepresented to him by his attorneys, and that he was forced to agree to its terms under duress and false pretenses. Still awaiting approval from a federal judge, the settlement would allow Uber to continue to classify its drivers—which the company calls “partners”—as independent contractors rather than employees.

Suit Sought Reimbursement for Mileage, Tips, and Expenses

Throughout the country and around the world, Uber drivers are classified by the company as independent contractors, as drivers are free to set their own schedules and areas of operation within the cities in which they are approved to drive. This means, however, that drivers are responsible for all tax reporting, as well as any and all expenses they may incur. The issue has been broached previously in cases involving accident liability and workers’ compensation, but the recent class-action suit was arguably the most widely covered by various news outlets.


tips, Schaumburg employment law attorneyA decision in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended an existing U.S. Department of Labor rule regarding tip-pooling to establishments in which tipped employees already make minimum wage. How employers handle tips intended for bartenders and waitstaff has long been a source of contention, as gratuities often represent a significant portion of such employees’ income. While Illinois is not technically under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, the ruling will still likely have implications as case law precedent.

FLSA Regulations on Tip Credits

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits employers to count tips to certain employees as a portion of those employees’ wages, helping to fulfill the employers’ obligations of paying minimum wage. The FLSA still requires an employer to pay tipped employees at $2.13 per hour, with the expectation that tips will comprise at least $5.12 per hour in addition. In Illinois, employers must pay tipped employees $4.95 per hour, and tips must bring the employees’ compensation to at least $8.50 per hour, the state minimum wage.


medical marijuana, Illinois employment law attorneyWith the state’s medical marijuana pilot program now into its fifth month of full-scale operation, employers around Illinois are now faced with tough decisions about the application of drug policies in the workplace. Many business owners are not even sure what the law permits them to do concerning workplace use of medical marijuana by legal, registered patients. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act does provide some useful guidelines, as you might expect, but the law, ultimately, leaves the decision up to you.

Who Are Registered Users?

Since the program began—officially in January 2014, but not in practice until November of last year—patients suffering from about three dozen specified medical conditions have been applying to participate. Qualifying conditions include HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s diseases, fibromyalgia and many more. Those who have been approved are permitted to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from state-sanctioned dispensaries, and, if they remain within the parameters set by the program, are exempt from prosecution for possession and use. Registered users are not immune from prosecution for behavior while impaired, such as driving under the influence.


Schaumberg employment law attorneyFollowing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, a federal judge in Michigan has ordered the owners of a breakfast restaurant to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars in back wages and damages to more than 100 employees. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division determined that the owners were responsible for a number of wage-related violations, including requiring tipped employees to contribute $2 per hour from their tips as a condition of continued employment.

“Requiring employees to hand over part of their tips to their employer poses a serious problem to workers who, in many cases, are already struggling to get by,” said Mary O’Rourke, a local Department of Labor official. “[It] also undercuts those employers that obey the law and pay their workers properly. She and other regulators hope the judgment serves as a “wake-up call” to those looking to take advantage of their workers.

Other violations included failure to pay worked overtime and requiring employees to pay for mistakes and uniforms, which resulted in compensation below the federal minimum wage standards.


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