The Chicago Employment Law Blog

June 2012 Archives

Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits in Illinois

Downsizing happens to the best of us. After the shock of losing your job wears off, your first thought is probably, "How am I going to support my family?"

Fortunately, Illinois makes the application process for unemployment benefits relatively painless, unless your application is denied. (If you are denied, you have to fight your way though the appeals process, which is far more painful than the original application.)

United Road Towing Finally Settles Disability Discrimination Suit

United Road Towing, of Mokena, Illinois, is going to have to cough up a lot of dough after terminating employees that had taken medical leave. According to the EEOC's press release, URT will pay $380,000 to 13 employees that were discriminated against due to their disabilities. The settlement also requires other remedial measures, such as training for company employees.

We covered earlier developments in this case, including when URT alleged that the EEOC did not follow proper procedures before they filed their lawsuit. It was uncertain, after the court ruled in the EEOC's favor, whether the case would continue on appeal or settle. URT chose the latter, resulting in less legal fees but no shot at a Supreme Court showdown.

Rahm, City of Chicago, to Finally Allow Food Trucks?

Did you know that Chicago is the only city in the top 50 metropolitan cities that does not allow cooking on food trucks?

That may change soon, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. This means more variety in food choices, and perhaps even more opportunities to stop working for the man and break out on your own.

State Screws Over Retirees; Takes Away Free Healthcare

Gov. Pat Quinn was put on Earth to solve the pension deficit. This week, Gov. Quinn and Illinois lawmakers from both parties sold out retirees.

Grandma's pension check is just going to have to stretch further if she wants her medicine.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Gov. Quinn just signed a law last night that will eliminate the free health care that was promised to retirees.

EEOC: Don't Use Background Checks for Employment Decisions, Maybe

After coming to a settlement agreement with Pepsico back in April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission set its sight on pre-employment background checks and the disparate impact such checks have on minority job candidates.

According to the lawsuit, Pepsi did checks on all applicants. These checks included arrest records and convictions, and were done regardless of the relevance to the job.

The policy, while facially race-neutral, resulted in a disparate impact on minority candidates.

Okay, So There Does Seem to Be Some Gender Pay Gap for MDs

Just last week, we discussed the possibility that the gender pay gap, once professions and work hours are taken into consideration, had narrowed into near oblivion, unless you are a mom. However, according to Reuters, the gender pay gap may still exist for physicians.

According to the study, which surveyed 800 doctor-researchers with similar careers and distinctions, women made about $32,000 less than men. However, much like last week’s take on the gender pay gap, there were other factors to be controlled. For example, women tended to choose less lucrative specialties, such as pediatrics. They also worked, on average, about five less hours per week.

Employee Loses Suit Against Walmart For Causing Miscarriage

We blame Walmart for a lot of things. Their business policies have been blamed, fairly or not, for putting small businesses to pasture. Their depressed wages and benefits supposedly add to the shrinking of the middle-class. There have even been environmental pollution issues.

(And, lest we forget, their ex-CEO ruined the Kansas City Royals.)

What they cannot be blamed for, however, is Svetlana Arizanovska's miscarriages, reports the Courthouse News Service. Arizanovska worked as a stocker three nights per week. Stockers must be able to lift 50 pounds. When she became pregnant in November 2008, and experienced spotting, her supervisor reassigned her to the baby food and toothbrush aisles. She still miscarried.

Are We Past the Gender Pay Gap for Non-Moms?

The alleged gender pay gap is getting increased scrutiny after the Paycheck Fairness Act was again blocked in the Senate earlier this month. According to the Huffington Post, the act failed to secure the necessary votes to pass. The new law would have required employers to demonstrate non-gender related reasons for existing salary gaps and would have protected employees who disseminated their salaries to coworkers.

As expected, the vote was decided on party lines, leading President Obama to call the partisan decision “incredibly disappointing.” However, is the law actually necessary, or is it just a pander to the potential female bloc of voters in the next election?

CTU: Let's Strike! Rahm: It's a Negotiating Ploy

The strike could be on, reports FOX Chicago. Approximately 90 percent of the teachers that make up the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) approved the strike. The law was changed recently to up the percentage of teachers required to strike - from 50 percent to 75 percent.

The law, likely intended by Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reduce the likelihood of a strike in the midst of plans to reform the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), seems to have failed at its purpose.

EEOC: Top Five Discrimination Claims in Illinois

Thanks to this handy searchable tool, provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, we can now tell how many employment claims are filed in each state, including a breakdown by type. Illinois, though only making up an estimated 4.13% of the 2011 population, made up about 6.1% of the EEOC claims.

There were other interesting trends as well. From 2009 to 2010, the claims dipped by about 500, or by 0.08% of total U.S. claims. But in 2011, the numbers rose by about 800 claims, putting Illinois back at 6.1%.

Is University of Illinois to Blame for Harassment, Rape?

Charolette Adebukola was a housekeeper for the University of Illinois Medical Center from 2005 until mid-2010. She claims that in January of 2010, her supervisor, Clinton Smith, began to sexually harass her, and later raped her, reports the Courthouse News Service.

The harassment began with mild comments, such as referring to her as "his girl." The comments escalated to more mature subjects. Adebukola was eventually reassigned, but amazingly, Smith was still her boss. Smith also allegedly attempted to reduce her hours in retaliation for the complaint.

Don't Work for the Man! The FindLaw Guide to Starting a Business

Entrepreneurs are an interesting sort. They tend to be either courageous or stupid or both. Starting a business requires at least the courage part. As for stupidity, that's where we come in.

Wait, did he just call himself stupid? No, silly. We're here to keep you from being, well, stupid, and help you avoid some of the common mistakes that small business owners fall into when starting their own thing.

As the old expression goes, proper planning prevents poor performance.

Chicago Teachers Union Set to Strike Over Grant, Contract

NBC Chicago reports that the Chicago Teachers Union, led by CTU President Karen Lewis, is moving to strike. In order to do so, they'll have to garner 75 percent of their members' votes.

The strike stems from disagreements over a merit-pay program, as well as accusations that Chicago Public Schools' new plan will result in "larger class sizes; more children being expelled; and lower achievement levels among all students."