For Individuals and Employees
Discrimination & Hostile Work Environment
Employees in protected classes are to be treated equally in the workplace. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy, religion, disability, or age, can show itself in many ways be it hiring, conditions of employment, compensation, promotion, discipline, or termination. A hostile work environment stems from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, or othersyou may interact with at your job, who offend, harass, abuse, or intimidate you on the basis of your protected class.
Your employer has a duty to provide you with a safe work environment. Sexual harassment in the workplace can be devastating to your well-being and your career. Some forms of sexual harassment may include: implicitly or explicitly conditioning your employment, or employment benefits, upon the provision of sexual favors, unwelcome and offensive sexual advances, threats, demeaning, vulgar or suggestive language, offensive images, assaults, or other forms of severe conduct directed at you because of your sex.
Pregnancy and Disability Rights
If you are pregnant or disabled, you may have certain workplace protections and rights. Many employers are required to work with you, and sometimes your doctors, to figure out whether there is a way for you to continue to perfrom your job while pregnant or disabled; even with restrictions.
Retaliation, Whistleblower, & Wrongful Termination
Employers cannot terminate your employment, or take other adverse action against you, in response to your good-faith complaints of wrongdoing, or illegal activity, at work. You may have questions about how and where to report this kind of activity. You may be protected if you complained to management, the police, or governmental agencies.
Absence from Work
There are many different local, state, and federal laws that may protect you and your job if you need to take time off of work. Employers may have to give you the time off, and protect your employment status, when you need to take continuing or intermittent leave from your job. Some common situations that may require protected leave include: serious health conditions of your own or those of your family members, abuse in the home, jury duty, military duty, pregnancy, and birth or adoption.
Compensation, Wages, & Overtime
You work hard and are entitled to be paid properly for your time. An employer may fail to meet its obligations to pay you by miscalculating your rate of pay, keeping your tips, making deductins from your wages, denying you entitlement to overtime, requiring off-the-clock work before and after regular work hours and during breaks, or categorizing you as an independent contractor, instead of an employee. Illinois law mandates that only certain deductions can be taken from your pay and requires that employers pay full “final compensation,” including accrued vacation pay.
Contract Drafting, Review, & Negotiation
When your employer wants you to enter into a written employment or severance agreement, you need to know your rights before you sign. If you already entered into an agreement, you may have questions about the terms; or if ready to move to the next opportunity, you may want to make sure doing so does not violate any provisions of the agreement(s). You may have many questions about the law and what your employer can do. This area of the law is always changing and you need to know your rights to negotiate the best possible terms.
To assert your rights, you may need to report to a government agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), or the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). You may not be required to have an attorney, but skilled legal representation and counseling can be an invaluable and supportive asset to you through an agency investigation process. An experienced lawyer can assist you in determining the appropriate agency to file your charge, in drafting an administrative charge, and in navigating administrative hearings and proceedings.