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Illinois business law attorneysFor many business owners, firing an employee is something they hope they will not have to do. Unfortunately, letting employees go is just as much a part of being a business owner as hiring employees is. When an employer fires an employee, he or she must be careful to avoid creating an opportunity for the employee to sue. Employers must make certain that the termination was justified, legitimate, and handled within the law. There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being sued, but avoiding these common mistakes can help business owners avoid litigation.

Keeping Inadequate Records

Sometimes, employers become overwhelmed with the demanding task of running a business, and they allow some duties to slip. One of these often overlooked responsibilities is record-keeping. For example, employers have the responsibility to track employee hours worked. When keeping track of the hours worked by employees is based on the “honor system” or is inadequately managed, employees can claim that they were not paid for the actual hours they worked.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneysWhen you own and operate a business, it is crucial to remain in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. You are responsible for meeting government standards for licensing and certification, as well as safety and fire codes and a myriad of other requirements. One of the most controversial requirements—at least in recent years—has been compensation. If you employ a staff, it is your responsibility to pay them in accordance with federal, state, and local wage laws. Failing to do so could result in serious penalties, as one Chicago restaurant recently discovered.

Issues With “Training Rate”

The owner of popular Italian eatery Fabulous Freddies is on the proverbial hot seat following an investigation by the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found that the restaurant and its owner failed to comply with the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). According to several news reports, investigators from the Department of Labor found that Fabulous Freddies paid certain non-tipped workers a “training [pay] rate” of just $3.75 per hour—less than half of the $8.25 minimum wage in Illinois and still far below the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneysThere are only a few short weeks before Christmas, and people everywhere are scrambling to buy gifts. This means that many retail companies have got to find a way to meet significantly-increased demand. Many stores satisfy this demand by hiring additional staff for the holiday season, but some businesses struggle to find and hire good temporary workers. There are some steps you can take that may make the recruitment and hiring process more efficient as the winter holidays draw near.

Do Not Wait to Hire Seasonal Workers

By the month of December, most retail stores are already deep into the hiring process for seasonal employees. It is important for businesses to be proactive and not wait until the last minute to hire this additional help. Ideally, businesses would start the recruitment process weeks or even months before the holiday shopping season begins. This allows employers to process applications and interview candidates long before the demand increases.

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Illinois business law attorneyWith the winter holidays fast approaching, many business owners have started thinking about gifts for their employees. If you were to ask your team what they wanted from you as a holiday bonus, most of them would probably say cash. Unfortunately, not every business owner is in a financial position to offer cash bonuses—especially those running newer businesses or non-profits. As it turns out, studies suggest that cash rewards often do very little to improve worker morale and performance. Non-monetary gifts seem to have a larger and long-lasting impact on employee satisfaction.

If you are struggling with ideas on how to show your employees you appreciate them but you cannot afford lavish gifts, you may want to consider:

  • Closing on slow days around the holidays: If you run a retail business, you probably cannot afford to be closed in the days leading up to Christmas. In other industries, however, closing for a day or two could be a good way to allow your team to rest and relax without worrying about vacation time. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are often viable options, with some business even shutting down for the entire last week of December;
  • Giving extra paid time off: Even if you do not close, you could probably find ways to allow your employees to take an extra day or two off. During the holiday season, even an extra half-day off could be helpful in finishing shopping and preparing for guests;
  • Finding tangible gifts: One of the appeals to giving cash is that it is one-size-fits-all, but other gifts may also have fairly wide appeal. Wellness items like activity trackers or a gym bag could be appropriate, and items such as inexpensive personalized coffee mugs could show that you appreciate your team;
  • Work-related ideas: Some business owners use the holidays as a good time to encourage personal and professional development. You could give your employees the chance to attend an industry-related seminar, listen to a speaker, or even take a training course that may help them achieve their long-term career goals; and
  • Remembering the family: It is easy to think of your employees as individuals, but many business owners tend to forget their workers’ families. You may think about giving rewards that include spouses, children, and other family members such as movie passes, event tickets, or gift baskets sent to the home.

Of course, any holiday gift or bonus will lose much of its impact if you do not remember to express your gratitude and appreciation directly to your team. They have helped you get where you are and deserve recognition for their efforts.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneySmall and medium-sized businesses represent the backbone of the American economy. Such companies, in turn, rely on various types of business contracts to keep them running properly. Contracts are used to formalize purchase agreements, loans, employer-employee relationships, and a wide variety of other applications.

When you sign a contract, you do so with several expectations. First, you expect that you will comply with the terms and provisions of the agreement. Just as importantly, you expect the other party to do the same. If he or she fails to do so, you may be able to file legal action for breach of contract. Assuming your case is valid and the court rules in your favor, there are several remedies that may be applied to address your concerns.

Money Damages and Restitution

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