The Chicago Employment Law Blog

August 2011 Archives

For Chicago Employers: Male on Male Sexual Harassment Awareness

Many Chicago employers may not be aware of male on male sexual harassment, but it happens. And one North Carolina restaurant is paying a stiff penalty for ignoring just this kind of harassment.

When men sexually harass other men, the harassment often goes unpunished. This may be because men are embarrassed to bring the complaint in the first place, or that employers just ignore the complaints as horseplay. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is slowly suing more and more employers on behalf of men who say they've been harassed.

Michael Wellek Accused of Short-Changing Strippers

Michael Wellek -- the owner of suburban stripclubs Cowboys, Heavenly Bodies, and Skybox -- is now being sued by one of his strippers in a wage claim. The federal lawsuit brought against Wellek is just the latest legal trouble for the 63-year-old who is currently serving time in prison for tax fraud.

Argyro Roula Manis is seeking unpaid wages from the past five years in a proposed class action lawsuit against Wellek, reports the Chicago Tribune. Manis, a stripper, claimed that she and similarly situated dancers often worked more than 40 hours a week at Wellek's stripclubs but never got paid overtime. In addition, Manis says that in some weeks, she wasn't even paid minimum wage.

Chicago Police Salaries: Drawing 2 Checks from City

It’s hard enough to earn one paycheck in this economic climate. And yet, there are some workers drawing two checks from the city as shown by retired police officers who draw multiple Chicago police salaries.

Fifty-four retired Chicago cops are bringing in a pension from their prior service with the Chicago police department while also earning a second income from their current duties as officers at the Chicago Aviation Police, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Federal Diversity and Equality for Federal Employers

In a series of acts, the federal government has signaled they are tackling the problem of diversity and equality in the federal workforce.

President Obama recently signed an Executive Order to promote equal employment opportunity, diversity, and inclusion in the federal workforce. The order directs federal agencies to take proactive steps to promote federal diversity and to come up with strategic plans outlining steps to remove barriers to equality.

In 1995, the Chicago fire department set a cut-off test score for the firefighters' entrance examination that left out most black firefighters. Now, 16 years later, the Chicago discrimination case looks to be finally resolved as the city agreed to a settlement with the bypassed black candidates.

In the settlement, 111 black candidates who were passed over in 1995 will be given a second chance to become firefighters, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. And the pool of 6,000 African-American candidates from that class year will split $30 million for damages and backpay.

Employer Wellness Programs and Employee Health Incentives

You may think your employer is already too involved in your personal business. Now they may get a lot more involved in your own affairs like what you eat, whether you work out, and when you should stop smoking.

That's because more and more Illinois companies are developing employer wellness programs providing employee health incentives such as more money for employees who work out, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Sex Discrimination in Sports? Woman Sues the White Sox

A former Chicago White Sox employee has sued the team claiming that she was passed over for job promotions due to her gender. Sex discrimination in sports is nothing new, and the 33-year-old Deborah Theobald claims that the old boys’ network kept her down.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Theobald worked for the White Sox for eight years. During that time, Theobald says that she received stellar work reviews, but yet was routinely passed over for upper management positions.

New Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Limits Benefits for Some

Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a new Illinois workers' compensation bill that will ban benefits for those convicted of certain crimes.

According to the Decatur Tribune, the governor signed Senate Bill 1147 that will prevent workers convicted of serious crimes from claiming workers' compensation benefits for injuries resulting from those crimes. The new law will prevent workers from receiving benefits if they were injured while committing a forcible felony, aggravated DUI, or reckless homicide.

Illinois Human Rights Act and Sexual Orientation Harassment

A Village of Riverdale trustee is accusing a fellow board member of using anti-gay epithets in work conversations. The trustee is now seeking to put a stop to these crude remarks in what could involve sexual orientation harassment laws and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Trustee Tiasha Echols has had enough of Trustee Lawrence Jackson's disparaging remarks about gays and lesbians. While Echols does not claim that Jackson made any of the anti-gay remarks about her, she wants to put a stop to Jackson's rude behavior.

But what laws would prohibit Jackson's speech?

Illinois Breastfeeding in the Workplace Laws

On Saturday morning, mothers around the world will engage in simultaneous breastfeeding in an international attempt to break a world record. The event called the “Big Latch-On” is part of World Breastfeeding Week and several gatherings are planned around Illinois.

Breastfeeding is a fact of life, whether at international breastfeeding events or at the workplace. As we’re in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week, it would be a good time to review Illinois breastfeeding in the workplace laws.

FMLA Eligibility Requirements for Chicago Employees

You may be feeling stressed at work or just not enjoying work very much. You may have heard of colleagues who have taken stress leave under the FMLA and taken three months off. Now, as temperatures reach record highs in Chicago, your kids may be clamoring for a summer vacation and you may be considering taking some much deserved time off work too.

But the FMLA eligibility requirements are pretty strict and not just anyone can qualify for leave. Generally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off work for certain serious health conditions. To be a qualified employee, employees have to first jump through certain high hurdles.

Staffing Agency Liability and Temporary Workers Rights

The EEOC is suing a staffing agency, JES Personnel Consultants, for violating disability discrimination laws. In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that there is staffing agency liability as temporary workers rights which were violated when JES essentially terminated a disabled employee by refusing to staff him anywhere due to his disability.

According to the EEOC announcement, JES Personnel placed an employee with a company, Clover Technologies Group, where the employee unpacked and sorted ink cartridges. The employee reportedly suffered a brief epileptic seizure his first day on the job and was asked by Clover Technologies to provide a doctor's note to say that he was healthy enough to work.