Practice Area Focus
We find solutions.
Economics and power drive employment decisions for both employees and businesses. Sometimes, however, personalities complicate those decisions.
Whether we’re litigating an employment claim or negotiating an employment agreement, we empower our clients by toning down the rhetoric and looking past personality conflicts to find the best practical solutions for the problems they face.
We help people with a broad range of work-related issues, like:
• Employment Discrimination & Harassment
• Employment Contracts & Non-Compete Agreements
• Unpaid Wages & Overtime
• Whistleblowing and Retaliation
• Medical Leave
• Equal Pay Claims
• Termination & Separation Agreements
• Disability & Reasonable Accommodation
• Defamation and Slander
• Fiduciary Duties
Many employment law claims have very short time limitations - some as little as 180 days - in which employment decisions must be addressed. Employees who sit back and let employer violations mount up often find themselves out of luck when they finally try to address problems. If you are experiencing a work-related problem, you should considering contacting an attorney sooner rather to fully protect your rights.
DISCRIMINATION, RETALIATION, AND HARASSMENT
UNPAID WAGES, COMMISSIONS, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, AND OVERTIME
DISCHARGE, LAYOFF, AND WRONGFUL TERMINATION
Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment
It takes on many forms, but addressing it sooner rather than later is better.
• Race & Ethnic Discrimination
• Age Discrimination
• Gender Harassment & Gender Discrimination
Our experience with various federal, state, and local proceedings, including EEOC investigations and federal appeals, will help guide you through the complex and sometimes intimidating procedural requirements for pursuing a discrimination or harassment claim.
Many employees don’t address discrimination unless they have smoking gun evidence. But discrimination claims are rarely based on open and obvious conduct. Usually there is no smoking gun. Discriminatory intentions are almost always hidden or covered up. So many employees experiencing discrimination wait for something bad to happen before complaining, contacting an attorney, or filing a charge of discrimination. Waiting to address discrimination, however, exposes employees to worsening discriminatory conduct, weakens the employee’s position, and makes it harder to resolve the underlying problem. Moreover, the law places relatively short time limitations on an employee's right to sue for suspected discrimination. Employees who sit back and let discriminatory conduct pile up often find themselves out of luck when they finally do complain.
Employer decisions most commonly affected by illegal discrimination include:
• hiring and firing
• promotions, demotions, and transfers
• job assignments and classifications
• layoffs, reductions in force (RIF), and forced retirements
• job advertisements and recruitment
• use of company facilities
• training programs
• retirement plans, health/medical and fringe benefits
• disability leave and severance
Many employees worry about rocking the boat with their employer when they suspect discrimination. They shouldn't. Employers are absolutely prohibited from retaliating against employees who report or complain about suspected discrimination, filing a discrimination charge, or participating in investigations. Employers who engage in any conduct that punishes an employee for those things can be sued separately for that alone and ordered to restore the employee to the status quo. That is true even if the underlying discrimination complaint is determined to be unfounded.
If you suspect discrimination, we can help you determine whether illegal discrimination has played a role in an employment decision that has adversely affected you. If it has, we can also help you determine whether you have grounds for pursuing a remedy against your employer.
Learn more: Employment Law FAQs.
Unpaid Wages, Commissions, Independent Contractors, and Overtime
Get paid for the work you do, get the benefits you should.
We practice several types of law that help employees recover money an employer owes them.
State and federal law strictly regulate the payment of wages, overtime and commissions for employees. These laws also cover people who work for an employer but have been misclassified as an independent contractor or a supervisor.
In most situations employment laws require employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1 1/2 times their regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. To withhold wages or deduct any sum from an employee's pay, an employer needs an employee's express consent. And when it comes to overtime pay, an employer generally must pay overtime at the statutory rate even if an employee consents to an alternative payment arrangement. When an employer unlawfully withholds earned wages or fails to properly pay overtime, employees can recover back pay plus significant damages and attorney’s fees. These state and federal requirements also cover people who work for an employer, but have been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor or a supervisor.
We can help you determine if your employer owes you wages, commissions, or overtime pay. We can also help you determine if your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor. If we find your employer owes you money, we can advise you of your recovery options.
Learn more: Employment Law FAQs
Discharge, Layoff, and Wrongful Termination
While we like instant gratification, it will probably take more than one meeting to resolve an issue.
It is often said that an employer can fire a person for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. But in most cases an employer still must fulfill its employment contracts and follow its policies when discharging or laying off employees.
Though employers do have a lot of discretion regarding firing or laying off employees, there are some things an employer can't fire an employee for, like making a worker's compensation claim, complaining about discrimination, blowing the whistle on certain types of corruption, or trying to form a union.
Even if you have you have been terminated and it seemed fair, how you were terminated may not have been and you may have a recourse. Regardless of whether you’ve been laid off or discharged, Illinois requires your employer to pay you what you’ve earned by your next regularly scheduled pay date. This includes not only earned wages, overtime, and salary, but also any vacation, commission, or bonus pay you have earned. If you have been discharged or laid off and you believe your employer has failed to properly pay you for any sums you have earned, you may be entitled to recover back pay plus significant damages and attorney’s fees.
We practice several types of law that protect employees who have been discharged or laid off.
Learn more: Employment Law FAQs
They are giving you money for something,you should be negotiating.
Generally, neither federal nor Illinois law requires employers to offer employees severance. But if an employer has a policy regarding severance pay or an employee has an employment contract, a discharged or laid off employee may be entitled to severance pay.
In the absence of some preexisting obligation to provide severance pay, severance agreements generally pay employees to release any claims an employee may have against the employer. Additionally, these agreements normally place many other limiting conditions and obligations on the employee, but contain few provisions favorable to the employee. In many cases severance terms are negotiable, but employees lack the skill or knowledge to negotiate better terms.
If you have received a severance agreement to review and sign, we can help you identify potential legal claims you will be releasing, and we can help you determine whether you are being properly compensated for those claims. We can also help you understand the obligations that the agreement will impose upon you and advise you about other considerations you may need to address in the severance agreement, such as whether the terms of an existing non-compete agreement will be abandoned or altered if you agree to release your claims.
Learn more: Employment Law FAQs