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Arlington Heights business law attorneyA few weeks ago, a post on this blog explored the challenges in making the decision to terminate an employee who is no longer a good fit for your company. That post highlighted the importance of careful record keeping and rational decision-making so that you could protect yourself in the event of possible legal action. The second and final stage of the termination process, however, is the termination itself, and letting an employee go must be done in such a way that both the rights of the employee and your company are protected.

Meet Face to Face

While it may be uncomfortable for you, your employee deserves the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting in most cases. Try to avoid terminating an employee over the phone, through text message, or even via a letter. There may be some exceptions, such as worker with habitual attendance problems, but an in-person meeting is appropriate far more often than not.

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Illinois business attorneysWhen you employ a staff to help you meet the needs of your customers, sooner or later you will have an employee who fails to live up to your expectations. Perhaps he or she has problems with being on time, complying with your company’s dress code, or is simply not productive enough to warrant what you are paying him or her. But, how can you be sure that firing the employee will not blow up in your face, so to speak? There are some steps you can take to help protect yourself and your company from lawsuits and frivolous accusations when you decide to terminate an employee.

The Two Phases

In the movies and on TV, it not uncommon to see a boss fire an employee on the spot for a particularly egregious mistake or outburst. While an immediate firing may be warranted on occasion, most employee terminations occur after an extended decision-making process. Firing an employee, usually, can be broken down into two separate stages—the decision and the termination—and both must be handled properly.

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Illinois employment law attorneyWhen you rely on a staff to help promote your company’s interests, it is important to be aware of your employees’ needs. Unhappy, overworked employees can quickly lead to decreased morale, reduced productivity, and lower profitability for your business. Aside from the numbers, it is also important to look after your employees as people—men and women who have committed themselves to helping you reach your professional goals.

Over the last couple weeks, the internet has been abuzz with commentary regarding a Michigan woman’s decision to take a mental health day away from work. More accurately, the talk has been focused on her manager’s positive response and the realization that more companies should be as supportive of their workers.

Sick Days for Mental Health

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b2ap3_thumbnail_employee-handbook-Arlington-Heights-.jpgEmployee handbooks are like welcome packages for your employees. They outline what you expect from your employees and communicate what your employees can expect from you. Yet it is important to recognize the potential implications of a poorly written employee handbook. The following explains these risks, and provides you with information on how to avoid them.

Employee Handbook Basics

At minimum, you want your employee handbook to make clear that your company complies with the anti-discrimination and harassment laws, and that you are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In conjunction with this, you should document your expectations on ethics and conduct. This can give you the chance to reiterate your stance on harassment and discrimination. However, you may also need to outline issues that may be regulated (i.e. food safety, environmental regulations, etc.).

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paid sick leave in Chicago, Arlington Heights business lawyersBusinesses in the Chicago area have had to power through many changes over the last couple of years. A newly passed city ordinance, which will require that most employers allow their employees to earn paid sick leave, has now been added to that list of changes. The following information can help you understand the legal framework and minimum requirements.

Earned Sick Pay Ordinance Employer Requirements

The ordinance, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017, requires that all Chicago employers provide at least some sort of earned sick pay program to their employees. At a minimum, workers should be able accrue five sick days per year at a rate of one earned hour per 40 hours worked, which can be used once they have completed a six-month probationary period with the company. Employees can "cash in" this time if they are ill, need to care for a sick child or elderly parent, or in the event of a domestic violence situation. If the time goes unused, at least 2.5 of the hours can be rolled over into the next year for their use.

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employing minors in illinois, arlington heights employment attorneyRegardless of the size of your business, if you are employing minors to fill various staff positions, it is important to make sure your company is abiding by the Illinois Child Labor Law. Failure to comply can result in the loss of business licenses, fines, and more. Young workers can be valuable assets to your workplace, but neglecting to follow the most basic Illinois Child Labor Law guidelines can hurt your business.

Certificate Requirements and Restrictions on Work Hours

Employers must meet certain requirements when employing minors, according to the Illinois Department of Labor. First, any employer hiring a teen under the age of 16 is prohibited to employ the minor without a valid work permit or employment certificate. These certificates can be obtained from the child’s school and must be presented before they begin working on your premises. You are to provide them with a "letter of intent to hire," which they should take to their school to have signed and evaluated with a parent or guardian.

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employment policies in Illinois, Arlington Heights business lawyerEmployee handbooks that establish the groundwork and boundaries for your staff are critical, whether you are a new business owner or have been in business for many years. If you have been an employer for some time now, it is always wise to review your current policies and handbooks periodically to ensure your guidelines are current and relevant to reflect your most recent business practices. If you are just beginning a new business venture, the policies you put in place now will set the tone for your work environment and the relationship you share with your employees now and in the future.

Why the Details Matter

Without thorough, detailed guidelines that outline what is expected of your employees, your business runs the risk of serious liability when it comes to termination and the hiring process. Not only do you need to spell out the responsibilities you require of your staff and the expectations you have for them in terms of their performance, but you also need to be very clear on the behaviors and actions that are not acceptable and why.

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overtime pay guidelines in illinois, Arlington Heights business lawyersIn the realm of business law defense, pay laws are a hot topic. Whether you operate an Illinois business, or are an employee and want to make sure you are following state law procedures for overtime hours, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics to ensure your practices are legal, fair, and that they are in line with your best interests.

Exemptions

First, let us take a look at exemptions. Certain workers and organizations are free from tax obligations or liability. In the case of overtime hours, Illinois laws consider the following employees to be exempt from being paid overtime:

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