The Chicago Employment Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

Sexual Harassment of Interns Can Be Stopped

College internships are a strange thing. They could be considered an extended interview that lasts the entire summer. And given this tough economic climate, interns probably want to make very good inpressions in hopes that they get the permanent offer when the internship is done.

In that way, interns are very low on the totem pole of the workplace and completely at the mercy of the employer. And so they may be especially vulnerable to sexual harassment and reluctant to report harassment, writes the Chicago Tribune. But as sexual harassment of interns appears to be so prevalent, college students and other interns should be aware that they do not have to put up with abusive treatment even if they are the low-man or woman in the office.

Top 4 Myths About Sexual Harassment

We've written a lot about sexual harassment and sexual harassment settlements and most of the time, the cases have involved male supervisors harassing a group of women. While this may be the typical scenario, this is also not the possibility for sexual harassment claims.

The following are four of the top myths about sexual harassment:

Jackson Park Hospital Discrimination Suit Settles for $80,000

In July, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced they were suing the Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center for race discrimination, sex discrimination, and retaliation.

In a relativly quick turnaround, the EEOC announced this week that they had reached a settlement agreement with the hospital. The Jackson Park Hospital discrimination lawsuit will result in the hospital paying $80,000 to a class of black female employees.

Working on Thanksgiving? You May Have No Choice

Stores are opening earlier and earlier hoping to get an edge on Black Friday sales. In years past, stores had opened at obscene hours like 5:00 a.m. hoping to catch the early morning shopper. Now, stores are even planning on opening on Thanksgiving night.

So if you’re an unfortunate employee required to work on the holiday, you may have to pack that turkey dinner to go. But can employers force you to work Thanksgiving?

Top 3 Reasons for Wrongful Termination

Even if you are an at-will employee, did you know that you cannot be fired for just any reason? So while an employer may fire you for no reason at all, firing for an illegal reason is not allowed.

Be aware that you are protected from illegal terminations including the following top three reasons for wrongful termination:

Is the Number of Sexual Harassment Complaints Really Down?

The number of sexual harassment complaints have declined significantly over the past 15 years, falling 26 percent, says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a study. Last year, only 11,717 cases were filed.

But does this really mean fewer women (and sometimes men) are being sexually harassed at work?

Appearance Discrimination? Rejecting the Ugly for a Job

A study showed that the hiring process is not blind after all. People with facial blemishes like birthmarks and scars had a more difficult time landing a job than those without, says a Rice University study.

You probably know that it is illegal for an employer to reject applicants for protected characteristics like race or sex, but you may be wondering whether it is legal for employers to engage in appearance discrimination.

How Much Does a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Pay?

Herman Cain has been dominating the news for all the wrong reasons. It seems that women are coming out of the woodworks accusing the presidential hopeful of sexual harassment. To some (mainly Cain supporters), the accusers are engaged in a desperate money or power grab.

So you may be wondering how much does a sexual harassment lawsuit pay?

Sharon Bialek Sexual Harassment Complaint Too Late?

The Sharon Bialek sexual harassment complaint against Herman Cain is the first complaint against the presidential hopeful to go public.

Bialek, a Chicago-area woman, accuses Cain of making unwanted sexual advances against her back in 1997, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. It was not reported whether Bialek had already sued Cain (or whether she can even sue Cain if she wanted to), and so you may be wondering just what is it that Bialek wants by going public now.

What Are Illinois Wage Payment Laws?

This may be the most important employment post you ever read as we discuss Illinois wage payment laws and the laws that discuss when you must get paid and what must go in your paycheck.

When You Must Be Paid

Employers must generally pay you at least on a semi-monthly basis (twice a month). Employers can pay more frequently if they want, like on a weekly basis, but at a minimum, they must pay you at least twice a month.

Top 5 Illinois Wage and Hour Questions

Illinois wage and hour laws cover many things like minimum wage, overtime, and other pay rules.

The following are five basic wage and hour requirements in the state.

  • Minimum Wage. The state minimum wage is generally $8.25 per hour. However, there are some exceptions where employees can be paid less such as for new employees and employees under the age of 18.

What Are Required Illinois Labor Posters?

Did you know that your employer is required to post certain notices around the workplace? These notices tell you about your rights as an employee, and the obligations of your employer.

If your employer fails to abide by Illinois labor posters requirements, it could face fines and other penalties.

So what are the required Illinois labor posters?

100 Cook County Layoffs

In the first round of layoffs, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle sent out layoff notices to roughly 100 employees. The Cook County layoffs are hoped to help close a $315 million budget gap.

The union and county have been battling over the budget for some time. On the one hand, the county has asked employees to take unpaid furlough days. On the other, the union and its employees have bristled at the thought of any layoffs or furloughs. As a result, the county has been forced to terminate employees.