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Illinois business law attorneysIf you own a company that relies on a team of employees to serve your customers and achieve your goals, recruitment and hiring are very important to your business. You need the best possible team that you can assemble, and it can be challenging to make good hiring decisions after spending just a few minutes with each candidate.

The interview is a critical part of the hiring process, and a good interviewer can learn a great deal about a prospect in a very short amount of time. It is reasonable, of course, to ask a candidate how he or she will approach the job and about the qualifications he or she brings to the table. There are, however, some questions you never ask and topics that must be avoided so that you do not put your company at risk for a claim of employment discrimination. Such topics include:

  • Age;
  • Race or ethnicity;
  • Sex, gender, or gender identity;
  • National origin;
  • Religion;
  • Marital or family status, including pregnancy; and
  • Disability.

State and federal laws prohibit employers from making hiring decisions because of certain protected characteristics. Bringing up any these subjects creates the impression that the candidate’s answers will affect your hiring decision.

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Illinois business law attorneysMost companies do everything in their power to abide by the rules. Sadly, there are a select few companies that simply refuse to comply with local, state, or federal regulations. Some businesses cut corners to save time and money, while others fail to provide a safe work environment or refuse to go the extra mile to ensure their products or services are safe for consumption. All these situations put others at risk, which is why the state of Illinois encourages internal reporting from employees—an act that is known as “whistleblowing.”

What Is a Whistleblower?

“Whistleblowers” are employees that have reported local, state, or federal violations, or hazards that pertain to public or employee health and safety. Some may unknowingly participate in a wrongful act and then report it. Others may recognize the violation and refuse to participate in an action that they feel violates health and safety standards or local, state, or federal laws. In either case, those who make such reports are protected by the state under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (740 ILCS 174).  

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Arlington Heights business law attorneyOver the last several years, a number of retailers have announced and begun executing plans to close a substantial number of stores. Some have been struggling for quite some time, such as JC Penney, Sears,  and Toys R Us, while others—including Macy’s—have surprised many consumers with their plans to shutter dozens of locations.

Unfortunately, many of these retailers are “anchor stores” in shopping malls across the country. As anchor stores, they once served as the most stable tenants of a shopping center, with a customer base that drove the bulk of the mall’s traffic. The struggles of such stores have translated into big problems for the shopping centers themselves, and while e-commerce is part of the issue, it is not the only reason that malls are hurting nationwide.

Reason #1: Online Shopping Is Here to Stay

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Arlington Heights business law attorneyIf you are a small business owner, you know that legal documents such as contracts, non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and employee handbooks and policies can carry a tremendous amount of power. It is vitally important that business owners carefully review documents such as these to make sure they are factually accurate, free of errors, written clearly, and legally enforceable. Sometimes, a small error or oversight can cause a contract or other legally-binding documents to become ineffective and unenforceable.

Punctuation Discrepancy in Maine labor Law Results in Millions

Delivery truck drivers from a Portland dairy company will soon be much wealthier thanks to a lawsuit they filed to recover back wages for overtime. The lawsuit began in 2014 when employees of Oakhurst Dairy demanded that their employer pay them for overtime they had worked. Generally, any hours above 40 worked during a given week are compensated with time-and-a-half pay. Oakhurst Dairy did not pay the delivery workers extra pay for any hours worked beyond 40 per week because the Dairy insisted that law did not require it.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneysYou have probably heard the term “non-disclosure agreement” more often than normal in the last few months. Recently, President Trump has been accused of having a relationship with an adult film star and using a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to prevent her from discussing it with the press. There has always been a bit of confusion in the general population about exactly what the purpose of an NDA is and when to use this legal device. Non-disclosure agreements, also known as also known as confidentiality agreements, confidential disclosure agreements, proprietary information agreements, or secrecy agreements, can be a valuable tool for business owners.

An Unfair Reputation for a Valuable Legal Tool

An NDA is a legal contract that can exist between two or more parties that guides how confidential information should be kept private. For example, if two parties wish to discuss sensitive material without the threat of that information leaking to a third party, they can use an NDA to establish confidentiality rules. Doctor-patient confidentiality, attorney-client privilege, and bank–client confidentiality are forms of non-disclosure agreements. While often receiving bad press, an NDA by no means indicates that any illegal or unethical behavior is being protected.

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