The Chicago Employment Law Blog

October 2011 Archives

Cook County Workers Not Complying w/ Required Furlough Days

Last February, Cook County and its labor unions reached an agreement where workers would take ten days off without pay in an effort to save the county money. The Cook County furloughs were to be in lieu of layoffs.

However, as we approach the end of the year, it's been reported that over half the county workers continued working, never taking the mandatory ten days off without pay, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Top 5 Reasons for FMLA Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off work due to family or emergency reasons. However, not every emergency qualifies as protected leave and taking protected time off work may be tougher than you think.

Top 5 FMLA reasons for leave can include:

Top 4 Mistakes for Halloween Costumes at Work

Halloween is a fun time for adults. You get a chance to dress up and fantasize a bit. However, the workplace may not be the best place to bust out your most outrageous costumes. To avoid mistakes for Halloween costumes at work, you may want to avoid:

1. Wearing too little.

Leave the sexy for after-work. It seems as if every costume for adults is a racy version of something. Sexy nurses, sexy teachers, and even sexy zombies. While these costumes may be fun for Halloween parties, these may be completely inappropriate for the office.

Prayer in the Workplace? Hertz Muslim Discrimination Lawsuit

Last week, we wrote about a school teacher who successfully sued her schoold district for failing to give her time off to perform her pilgrimage to Mecca.

Now, another Muslim discrimination lawsuit has made the headlines. Hertz, the car rental company, allegedly fired 26 Muslim transport drivers in the Seattle area after the drivers chose to be terminated rather than clock out for prayer breaks, reports CBS. The drivers pray several times a day pursuant to their faith. While Hertz allowed the practice, the company wanted the drivers to clock out, which the drivers refused to do.

Ruth's Chris Discrimination; Class Action Status Granted

The Ruth's Chris discrimination lawsuit just took a giant step forward as a U.S. District Judge granted plaintiffs the right to request class action status.

Women employed at the national chain of upscale steakhouses sued the company claiming that it routinely discriminated against women in pay, promotions, terminations, and creating a "sexually-charged" work environment where women were subject to hostile and demeaning behavior by their male colleagues, reports Forbes.

Safoorah Khan’s Muslim discrimination lawsuit against the Berkeley School District ended in settlement. The school district will have to pay Khan $75,000 in lost back pay and will have to ensure that a similar teacher hajj lawsuit does not happen again.

In December 2008, Khan, a teacher at MacArthur Middle School, requested an unpaid leave of absence to go on her hajj pilgrimage, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. However, the school district denied her leave request and allegedly gave Khan the choice of her job, or her religion.

Not So Fast, Ford UAW Contract Held Up

The United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford Motor Co. reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract last week. But as the rank-and-file vote on the proposed Ford UAW contract, the two sides may have to return to the negotiating table.

Workers at the Ford assembly plant in Chicago overwhelmingly rejected the proposed contract, reports the Chicago Tribune. It was the second big Ford plant to reject the deal, and the 77-percent rejection margin is a bad sign for the survival of the proposed deal.

Theo Epstein Employment Contract?

In a world where employment contracts seemingly mean nothing, the Chicago Cubs are reportedly on the verge of poaching away Theo Epstein from the Boston Red Sox.

Epstein is currently the general manager of the Red Sox and the Theo Epstein employment contract runs through 2012, reports ESPN. As the leader of the Red Sox, Epstein has been largely credited for putting together two championship teams and one of the most competitive franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Jay Medicar to Pay $70,000 for Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Jay Medicar Transportation has agreed to pay $70,000 to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit. Jay Medicar was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for quid pro quo harassment and agreed to settle the case instead of going to trial.

The transportation company was sued last year after several women accused the company’s director of operations of sexual harassment, says the EEOC in its announcement. It was alleged that the harassment included quid pro quo advancements where the executive demanded sex in exchange for job benefits like pay raises, scheduling changes, and even continued employment.

EEOC Brings Taco Bell Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Oftentimes it's not the alleged harassment that causes trouble for an employer, but the employer's reaction to the complaint.

Mendota Restaurants owns a Taco Bell/KFC franchise in Central Illinois, and it was accused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of subjecting female employees to severe sexual harassment. The Taco Bell sexual harassment lawsuit highlights how improper response to a sexual harassment complaint can create big problems for an employer.

Chicago Workers' Unpaid Debts Leads to Discipline

Chicago workers owe nearly $3 million to the city in unpaid debts. The debts include unpaid parking tickets, water bills, fines, and other fees. Workers who fail to pay back the debts, may be suspended or terminated under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new plan.

Emanuel sent a letter to city department heads itemizing the debt that city employees owed the city, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In the letter, Emanuel went on to say that employees who fail to pay back the debt risk lengthy suspensions and job terminations.

Mach Mining Sex Discrimination: Never Hired a Woman in 5 Years

In filing the Mach Mining sex discrimination lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that Mach Mining "needs to realize this is 2011, not 1911."

Mach Mining, headquartered in Marion, began operations in 2006 and never hired a single female miner for its Southern Illinois coal mines, claims the EEOC. The EEOC says that Mach Mining received "scores" of applications from highly qualified women, and yet did not hire a single one for any of its mining positions in five years.