The Chicago Employment Law Blog

September 2011 Archives

Source One Staffing Sued for Sex Discrimination

Even in the year 2011, some employers still categorize certain types of work as “women’s work” and other types of work as “men’s work.” These employers keep the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) busy, as the federal agency recently filed a Source One Staffing sex discrimination lawsuit for making such sex-based categorizations.

Source One Staffing is a temporary placement agency in Chicago. In its announcement, the EEOC district director said that the agency’s investigation uncovered direct evidence of sex stereotyping in Source One’s job assignment practices.

Ozzie Guillen Quits, Takes Job With Florida Marlins

Ozzie Guillen was signed to manage the Chicago White Sox through 2012. But with a year left on his contract, Guillen announced that he was leaving the team to take the managerial job with the Florida Marlins. Ozzie Guillen quits the White Sox with only a few games left in the season, and he’s rewarded with a four-year deal with the Marlins.

On Monday, the outgoing manager of the Marlins, Jack McKeon, announced that he was retiring at season’s end, reports ESPN. Just hours later, Guillen announced he was resigning from the White Sox after eight seasons, including a World Series title in 2005, to take that job.

Fired for Absenteeism? Mayor Cracks Down on Absent Employees

Fed up with chronic absenteeism that has caused the city to cut back on rodent control and tree-trimming services, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gathered 50 ward superintendents who oversee these crews and told them to crack down on absent employees.

But if an employee must miss work, can they be fired for absenteeism?

Earlier this year, the city has struggled to perform its duties of sweeping streets, collecting garbage, and trimming trees, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. This was likely due to the hiring freeze and also the staggering amount of absent city employees.

Chicago Firefighter Deaths Lead to More Firefighter Safety

A federal report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has blamed the Chicago firefighter deaths in a fire at an abandoned laundry facility last December on poor communications and other shortcomings of the Chicago Fire Department. The NIOSH report has already led to more measures ensuring firefighter safety.

On December 22, firefighters were dispatched to a vacant and dilapidated laundry facility, reports the Chicago Tribune. Few of the firefighters were equipped with radios and there was no way for firefighters inside the building to communicate to supervisors what they were seeing. As the firefighters fought the blaze inside, more firefighters were on the roof of the building spraying water inside. The roof eventually collapsed and two firefighters were killed and 19 injured.

Larry Dominick Sexual Harassment, No-Touch Harassment?

Town of Cicero President Larry Dominick has seen his share of legal troubles. First, he was accused of race discrimination for firing a Hispanic worker. Now, he’s the subject of two sexual harassment lawsuits. And sworn statements made in one Larry Dominick sexual harassment suit have come back to haunt the town president in a second court action.

Former town employees Sharon Starzyk and Janidet Lujano accuse Dominick of sexual harassment in separate instances, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The town president denied wrongdoing in both cases, but he’s been tripped up in sworn statements he’s made for the different court actions.

Jesse Jackson Employee Says Fired for Being Gay

Tommy Bennett has filed a lawsuit against Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition claiming that he was fired for being gay. The former Jesse Jackson employee was an organizer and Jackson's travel assistant from 2007 to 2009.

According to his lawsuit, Bennett says that he was given a letter in December 2009, telling him that he was being let go due to a lack of funding, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. However, soon after he was laid off, Bennett discovered that the organization hired another employee to take his spot.

Illinois Employment Background Check Laws

In this age of the World Wide Web, you may assume that no information is private. Besides the information we voluntarily share on social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, other personal information like criminal or financial information may also be publicly available.

So can a prospective employer use whatever it finds online in its hiring decision? The answer is a resounding "no" as Illinois background check laws ensure that employers cannot use certain information in its hiring decision, even if the information is publicly available.

Bank of America Discrimination Charges Brought

Here is just one more story of disability discrimination in the workplace. Bank of America discrimination charges were brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after the banking giant allegedly failed to accommodate a legally blind employee.

The blind data entry worker worked at Bank of America (BOA) for all of one day before he was fired for his disability, the EEOC announced. It’s unclear if the worker was let go because he worked too slowly or couldn’t do the job at all, but the EEOC claims that the bank should have offered him an accommodation to perform the job.

Men Paid More, Jerks Paid More

Men are paid more than women. There's nothing new in University of Notre Dame's newest study as many studies have already shown that men are routinely paid more than women for the same jobs. But the Notre Dame study also shows that jerks are paid more. So it pays to make waves, and sadly, unlike with sex discrimination, there are no laws protecting the workplace from jerks.

Defining jerks as moderately disagreeable people, the study showed that disagreeable men earned an average of 18 percent (or almost $10,000) more than the agreeable man, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. And disagreeable women earned 5 percent (or almost $2,000) more than their pleasant counterparts.

Chicago Cops Sick Leave, Abuse of Sick Leave?

Chicago cops' sick leave equals 365 days every two years. Unbelievable. No wonder the city is in such dire financial straits.

And guess what happens when employees get a year's worth of sick leave every two years? People abuse it. Like when cops go out to eat while "sick," do some shopping, or even visit the Caribbean, as revealed by an internal police investigation of abuse of sick leave, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Unemployed Face Another Jobless Year, Discrimination

Last month, there were six million long-term unemployed persons in the U.S. -- or those persons who have not been working for at least 27 weeks. In Illinois, it's estimated that one in three unemployed persons have already been out of a job for a year or more, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

And unfortunately for the Chicago unemployed, there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks in large part to unemployment discrimination, reports the Sun-Times.

How to Avoid Illegal Hiring Practices and Chicago Discrimination

During George Bush’s administration, the EEOC seldom ever investigated discrimination claims and brought even fewer cases to court. Since 2008, under President’s Obama’s watchful eye, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been infused with new funds and new motivation to stop discrimination in employment. Now, employers should watch out, as the EEOC brought almost 100,000 charges last year.

One area the EEOC has focused on has been illegal hiring practices, reports the Business Management Daily. Hiring violations have been a source of litigation in many Chicago discrimination cases as employers can violate the law without discriminatory intent.

Chester Taylor Cut? He Thought So . . .

What would you do if you were told you were no longer in your employer's plans? Would you look for new employment, wait for your employer to officially fire you, or try to find a way to stick with the company? If you were Bears' running back Chester Taylor, you might just storm out, burning bridges behind you.

When Chester Taylor cut rumors spread over the Internet, it was reported that Taylor was told by Coach Lovie Smith that he was no longer in the team's plans, reports the Chicago Tribune. But not so fast ...