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Fair Wage: An Employee’s Right

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2014 | Firm News

Federal laws provide protection for employees against abusive treatment by their employers, helping to prevent discrimination, while providing a fair wage.

FLSA and Fair Wages for Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) requires an employer to pay employees 150% of their regular hourly rate for any work-hours that exceed 40 hours during a regular work week.  Some employers attempt to override the law by claiming certain employees are exempt due to their managerial duties, or some other exception.  While there are valid reasons that allow an employer to exempt employees from being paid 150% of their hourly rate for overtime, these exceptions are not as prevalent as many employers would have their employees believe.

Report Problems to Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division

Many employees fear retaliation from their employer if they report them to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. However, there are also whistle blower laws that protect an employee from retaliation when they report violations or non-compliance by an employer failing to provide a fair wage for the hours they work.  Regardless of the laws in place to protect employees, many employees still fear retaliation and the loss of their jobs, which is likely the reason that the U.S. Department of Labor states that approximately 70% of all employers across the U.S. fail to comply with wage and hour laws.

Even though Federal law only requires an employer to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, Illinois State Law sets minimum wage at $8.25 per hour unless the employee is paid approximately 40% of their wages in tips; then the employer is given a 40% credit, but they are not allowed to retain any portion of the tips for themselves.

Employment Law for Employees

Goldman & Ehrlich have assisted a multitude of clients in the recovery of unpaid wages, in addition to liquidated damages for being underpaid.  We will fight for your fair wage; an employee’s right to receive payment for the work they have performed for their employer. Contact us today to get started on your case!

What You Should Know About Hiring Employees

When hiring employees, imperative information, facts, and responses need to be gathered to ensure the potential employee will be a good fit for your company and will likely remain a good employee for years to come. Information you need to gather for new employees includes:

  • Professional references
  • Character references
  • Previous company willing to rehire
  • Applicant’s ability to work well with previous co-workers
  • Applicant’s job performance rating
  • Previous supervisor’s opinion of applicant
  • Enthusiasm for new position
  • Applicant’s knowledge about your company
  • Does applicant exhibit good communication skills
  • Does applicant have good eye contact
  • Does applicant appear to be knowledgeable about the position for which they are applying
  • Verify employment records
  • Verify educational records
  • Does applicant have a criminal record
  • Applicant background check
  • Applicant’s future goals
  • Does applicant need further training
  • Emergency contact information (including home address, cell phone number, home phone number, and email address)
  • Citizenship information, including filling out an I-9 Form if the applicant is hired, two forms of identification
  • If applicant is hired, you will need tax reporting information including full name and social security number

Chicago Employment Law for Employers

Chicago employment law for employers adheres to Federal Guidelines, which do not allow employers to gather discriminatory information that could influence an employer’s decision to hire an applicant such as:

  • Age (if above 40 years of age)
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religious preference
  • Gender
  • National origin

Goldman & Ehrlich will work with your company to ensure your company is adhering to all new laws and regulations for information you should gather when hiring employees.

Contact Goldman & Ehrlich today to learn more about Chicago employment law for employers.

How to Begin Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

If you experience the loss of your job in Illinois due to circumstances beyond your control, and you are not at fault, you will most likely qualify to begin collecting unemployment benefits providing you meet prior employment eligibility requirements.

Illinois Unemployment Eligibility Requirements Depend Upon:

  • Previous amounts earned for the base period
  • Loss of your job due to circumstances beyond your control such as a lay off or reduction of force by your employer
  • You must be willing to work, available for work, and able to work

How to File for Unemployment Benefits

To begin collecting unemployment benefits in Illinois:

  • You can file for unemployment benefits online at www.ides.state.il.us,
  • Or you can go to your local unemployment IDES office, which can be located online at www.ides.state.il.us/worknet by entering your current zip code – many people prefer visiting their local office in person due to questions that may arise during the process of filling out the paperwork.
  • Submit the completed paperwork.
  • IDES will mail you a letter with a certification date.  You must fulfill the requirements stated in the letter, which include your job search requirements, and answer all questions concerning monies received.  Typically, you are able to file each weeks request for benefits using your home computer, or the computers provided by IDES, or you can also file your weekly request for benefits by phone.  Be sure to file for each week’s benefits within the allotted timeframe to ensure you remain eligible.
  • Keep a carefully delineated list of your job searches on the form provided by IDES.  IDES makes random requests for submission of job searches.

Illinois Employment Law for Employees

If you have been denied unemployment benefits, you need to contact Goldman & Ehrlich to discuss an appeals process. We can help you receive the benefits you need.