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I Was Trying To Protect a Colleague and They Canned Me!

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2014 | Firm News

According to a recent Reuters article, a fired executive director of the State Bar of California filed what is called a whistle-blower lawsuit against the organization the very same day he was fired. The former employee, Joseph Dunn, a former State Senator who represented Orange County, claims that he was terminated without proper reasoning just after he filed an anonymous grievance to the bar’s trustees on Nov. 3, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

What are whistleblower laws?

Whistleblower protection laws are intended to make a way for employees to end, report, or speak out about employer actions that are illegal, unhealthy, or violate certain public policies.

How specific are the laws?

Unfortunately, one of the most controversial issues in whistleblower law is the precise definition of what kind of whistleblower actions are protected. In certain states, the definitions are very specific and narrow, while others have broad sweeping descriptions. An employee or his or her legal counsel should diligently read through the state legislation concerning the definition for his or her state.

How can whistleblower laws protect me?

Federal law permits employees to come forward with discrimination claims without fear of retaliation. Activities protected by federal law are:

  • Protesting about suspected discrimination
  • Filing or threatening to file a claim of discrimination
  • Resisting discriminatory actions or policies
  • Declining to observe an order you feel is discriminatory
  • Collaborating with an investigation of discriminatory practices
  • Acting as a witness in an EEOC investigation or legal case

Chicago Whistleblower Claims and Retaliation Attorneys

Rights are worthless when intimidation stops law-abiding citizens from using them. For this reason lawmakers choose to protect employees who assert their privileges in the workplace from any retaliation from their employers. If you have engaged in a protected activity and are facing discipline up to and including termination of your employment, Goldman & Ehrlich is ready to help.

Call 312-332-6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.



Hey! You Can’t Ask Me That!

You might be surprised to see the presentations career counselors are giving high school students these days. In role-playing skits, presenters will demonstrate proper and improper behavior for an interview. To those in an older generation, it may seem like a “no brainer” to put your cell phone away and sit up straight in a job interview.

It seems logical that you would dress in your nicest clothes, spit out your gum and answer questions without using slang, but to a younger generation these skills may not be as obvious. Unfortunately, what some of these career coaches should be doing is reminding the interviewers of the behavior appropriate for their side of the table and they’re not!

Employment Laws and Interviews

Employment laws in the United States prevent employers from discriminating based on sex, age, nationality and many other factors. For this reason, employers and HR personnel conducting interviews must be very careful in their specific questions as well as how they word them to avoid pitfalls.

Legal Questions to Ask

There are specific things you need to know to ensure your candidate is legally able to work for you, such as age and nationality. Your position may require the person to be over 21 and legally documented. You must protect yourself by ensuring these stipulations are met, but you must ask the question in such a way that it’s clear you are not discriminating based on age or race. Examples of appropriate questions are:

  • “Are you over 21?”
  • “Are you a U.S. citizen or legally eligible to work in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act?”

Illegal Questions to Ask

In regards to the above examples of age and nationality requirements, there are definitely ways to ask those questions that are not appropriate. Word something the wrong way, and you’re in trouble. Inappropriate ways to ask the above questions would be:

  • “How old are you?”
  • “Are you from Mexico?”

Chicago Employment Law Attorneys

Contact our established Chicago employment attorneys. If you are an employer in need of quality advice and dynamic representation in an employment law dispute, call Goldman & Ehrlich at 312-332-6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.


Do Child Labor Laws Apply To Teenagers?

According to Human Rights Watch, Philip Morris International, the tobacco giant, has changed a policy that may be good news for many child workers on tobacco farms in America. The company publicized on November 5, 2014 that it would begin purchasing US-grown tobacco only via third-party leaf supply companies, instead of buying from tobacco farmers directly. This policy shift requires the globe’s biggest tobacco leaf suppliers to put into place Philip Morris International’s detailed child labor policy on all US farms from which they procure their tobacco.

What are child labor laws?

The federal child labor provisions, which were sanctioned by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, are also referred to as the child labor laws. These laws were put into place in order to protect children. This is so that when young people work, the activities are safe and don’t put their health or educational opportunities in harm’s way. There are also limited exemptions.

The Basics of Child Labor

Although you can hire persons under the age of 18, federal and state laws place limits on certain aspects of the job. Generally, these laws aim to protect younger employees by restricting the type of work they can do and the number of hours they can work. In some cities or states, there may even be curfews that have to be adhered to for younger workers. Before you hire any worker younger than 18, you should check the laws in your state as well as the country.

Child Labor Laws and Teenagers

Even though many teenagers are working full time jobs, and some even support families, if they are under the age of 18, they are considered children. Some agricultural jobs allow teenagers to operate certain types of machinery or perform highly physical work, but you need to be sure you check all laws and requirements for the specific job before you hire the employee.

Chicago Employment Law Attorneys

Contact our established Chicago employment attorneys for questions you have regarding child labor laws and teenagers. If you are an employer and need counsel in an employment law case, call Goldman & Ehrlich at 312-332-6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.