The Chicago Employment Law Blog

January 2012 Archives

Study: Working too Much Bad for Health

Is there a link between depression and overtime? Some studies don’t really need to be conducted to know what the results will be. In Britain, a study revealed that workers who worked too much suffered negative health effects. Duh.

According to the study on overtime and health, people who worked more hours than normal were at much greater risk for depression, reports HealthDay News. In the study, researchers followed about 2,000 middle-aged British government workers and found that employees who worked 11 hours or more a day were twice as likely to suffer from depression as compared to those workers who only worked seven or eight hours a day.

Employment Discrimination Complaints Reach All-Time High

For the second year in a row, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says it received a record number of employment discrimination complaints. Whether this is good news or bad news depends on how you want to view it -- either more people are victims of discrimination, or more people are stepping up and enforcing their right to a non-discriminatory workplace.

Kyle Williams Death Threats; Workplace Hazards of a Pro Athlete

Some of the Kyle Williams death threats received include: "I hope you, your wife, kids and family die, you deserve it," "I hope you die in your sleep tonight," and "Jim Harbaugh, please give @KyleWilliams_10 the game ball. And make sure it explodes when he gets in his car."

If you don't follow football, Kyle Williams is the most obvious scapegoat for the San Francisco 49ers overtime loss to the New York Giants over the weekend. Williams is also the son of Chicago White Sox General Manager Ken Williams, reports the Associated Press.

Signs You're Sexually Harassed at Work

"Quid pro quo" and "hostile work environment." That's how a court determines if you've been sexually harassed. While this may make sense to lawyers and judges, this may not make sense to most people who don't practice law for a living.

Instead, you may be aware that certain behavior is okay in the workplace while other behavior clearly crosses the line. Sexual harassment is determined on a case-by-case basis, though you should know that there are some signs that you're being sexually harassed at work.

Woman Fired for Working Through Lunch, Wins Unemployment

Most employers would love a hard-working employee who sacrifices her own needs and works through lunch to get the job done, right? Not quite. In this highly litigious age, an employee working through lunch may create more headaches for a company than any work she can possibly accomplish in a 30-minute period.

Sharon Smiley was fired from her job of ten years at a Chicago real estate company for working through lunch. There was nothing wrong with her termination, but an Illinois court found that the woman was entitled to unemployment benefits.

Pepsi Race Discrimination Lawsuit: Settle for Millions

In the Pepsi race discrimination lawsuit, the beverage company is accused of instituting a nationwide criminal background check policy that was so broad that it negatively affected black employees.

Rather than choosing to fight out the case in federal court, Pepsi agreed to pay $3.13 million to affected applicants, announced the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Rooney Rule in Effect? Bears Interview 2 Black Candidates for GM

More candidates have been announced for the Bears GM hire, and the Rooney Rule will be satisfied as two of the four candidates are black.

With the departure of Jerry Angelo, the Bears announced they are going to interview Phil Emery (Chiefs college scouting director), Jason Licht (Patriots director of pro personnel), Jimmy Raye III (Chargers director of player personnel), and Marc Ross (Giants college scouting director) for the position, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Rolf's Patisserie Closing Violated Federal WARN Act?

About 150 employees were laid off by Rolf’s Patisserie in Lincolnwood in December. They were given little to no notice that the company was shutting down. To make matters worse, many of these employees live paycheck-to-paycheck and found out that their final paychecks did not clear either.

These former workers are now seeking to band together in a class to bring a Rolf’s Patisserie lawsuit, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Public Schools Sued for Free Speech by Fired Teacher

Luis Aguilera, a former teacher in the Chicago public school district, is now suing the district claiming that he was wrongfully fired for exercising his free speech rights.

At the heart of the lawsuit is not something that Aguilera said, so much as something that he wrote, a memoir the former teacher wrote recounting his own relationship with an elementary school teacher when Aguilera was only 13, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Top 5 Chicago Employment Lawsuits of 2011

It’s not hyperbole when we say that employers pay dearly for breaking the law. That was especially the case in 2011 where we saw record judgments, verdicts, and settlements costing employers millions of dollars.

Here are our top five Chicago employment lawsuits from the past year:

Age Discrimination or Money Saving Tactic?

Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell when an employer is discriminating against someone for age, even when mostly older workers suffer. This is especially true in this down economy when employers look to save money and slash payroll costs.

That’s because older workers tend to earn more, so when budgets are slashed, they’re often the first to be let go. The Chicago Board of Education is now dealing with a similar situation as two teachers on the verge of completing their 20th year in the school system have sued bringing an age discrimination lawsuit. In their defense, the Board of Education may can claim the terminations were for legitimate reasons like cost-savings or performance.