Minimum Wage Bill Vetoed to Give Small Business Owners Time to Adjust

Illinois employment law attorneysSeveral employment law changes have occurred over the last couple of years; a minimum wage hike, which would have raised the pay to $15 an hour by 2022, was expected to be yet another. However, after passing in the state House and Senate, both with majority votes, it was vetoed at the last minute by Governor Bruce Rauner. The following explains why it was vetoed, and it provides some details on finding employment law assistance for your small business.

Why the Bill Was Vetoed

Although the minimum wage bill pulled a great deal of support from employees and government officials alike, Governor Rauner chose to veto it because it could have placed unnecessary stress on small businesses. Supporters of the bill argue otherwise, but a study on the minimum wage increase in Seattle found that workers suffered from the changes.

Rather than improve circumstances for low-wage employees, the report found that many businesses struggled to accommodate the wage increase. As such, employees became subject to widespread layoffs, and companies underwent hiring freezes. There were also cases in which full-time employees had their hours cut because companies could no longer pay them for full-time work. Companies also suffered because of inadequate staffing.

Businesses May Still Need Assistance

Rauner may have stepped in to help businesses this time, but there have been several other employment law changes over the last couple of years. For example, employers are now required to give employees more sick leave time, which may place unnecessary stress on the company. To mitigate against this issue, as well as others that may arise from the recent law changes in Illinois, small businesses are encouraged to seek legal assistance.

It should also be noted that minimum wage increases may still occur in the future. Governor Rauner has already expressed approval of a more moderate increase, and he may pass one if it comes across his desk. Wage increases also still have massive support from employment advocacy groups, labor unions, and employees. As such, companies may wish to prepare for potential wage increases ahead of time, which can help them stay ahead of the curve.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we understand the challenges that small businesses face. Dedicated and experienced, we can assist your company with legal employment-related matters. At every turn, we protect your company’s financial future. Learn more by scheduling a personalized consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys. Call 630-665-2500.


Encouraging and Protecting Diversity in the Workplace

Illinois business law attorneysDiversity in the workplace can offer varying perspectives, improve the company’s image, and may even result in capital gains. However, many businesses struggle to achieve true diversity and those that do often struggle to protect it. Do things differently, avoid litigation, and ultimately improve your company’s chances of success with help from the following.

Why Diversity is So Important

At first glance, diversity may not seem like the most important aspect of running a business. Instead, most owners focus their attention on things like recruiting experts in their field, reducing overhead costs, and creating a platform from which they can market – and yet these aspects of running a business often come naturally for those that support diversity. As an example, a business that strives to maintain ethnic diversity in the workplace may have a better understanding of cultural differences that may impact their sales and marketing strategies.

Encouraging Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is rarely accidental. Instead, it is done with intention. A business owner must consider what other groups of people can bring to the table. They must be willing to look at the cold, hard facts. They must look beyond the resume, and they cannot be swayed by charisma. Experience may become less about the jobs that a prospective employee has worked, and may become more about the potential. For example, you might consider hiring the white, male applicant with years of experience, but do not discount the homemaker that has spent the last ten years caring for her children.

Though the latter may need more training to ensure she is up to speed, she might also be better at multitasking than your male applicant. She may also have knowledge and experience that is difficult to communicate on a resume. Perhaps she has used accounting software and spreadsheets to maintain her household budgets and has some ideas on how your company could better utilize them. In short, before you hire anyone, be willing to ask probing questions, and always look at the whole picture – not just what is on the resume.

Protecting Diversity in the Workplace

Once you have achieved diversity in the workplace – or are well on your way – it is crucial that you know how to protect it. Workplace harassment, discrimination, resistance to change, and other challenges may arise along the way. Some of these issues could lead to a loss of valuable employees. Others may result in litigation. To decrease your risk of experiencing such consequences within your company, consider implementing the following:

  • Anti-discrimination policies;
  • Anti-harassment policies;
  • Equal pay for all same-skill/same-job employees;
  • An open-door policy for reporting harassment and discrimination;
  • Policies that clearly and concisely convey the consequences of workplace harassment;
  • Managerial training on workplace harassment; and
  • Swift and attentive handling of all harassment complaints.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

If your company is striving for diversity in the workplace and you need assistance with developing policies, employment contracts, and other anti-harassment procedures, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Our DuPage County business law attorneys can work with you to determine your goals, assist you in creating legally binding contracts and policies, and examine any situation involving potential litigation to ensure you have the support you need. Schedule your consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.


Examining the Pros and Cons of a Written Employment Contract

Illinois business law attorneysWhile the state of Illinois is considered an “at-will” employment state – meaning either employer or employee may terminate the relationship without cause or reason – there are situations in which an employment contract may be necessary. What are these situations, and what potential pitfalls might you, the employer, face? The following explains the potential advantages and disadvantages to written employment contracts.

When Might a Contract Be Necessary?

Employment contracts are often most useful when employers need to protect themselves from the potential of competition, revealing of trade secrets, or problematic employees. However, some companies also use them to entice highly desired employees. For example, an employer might offer a pre-determined salary increase over a five-year time period; putting it in writing may mean the difference between hiring a top-rated employee and losing that employee to your competitor.

Potential Advantages of Employment Contracts

Probably the biggest advantage to employment contracts is the ability control an employee – be it through ensuring they do not share trade secrets or compete against you, or simply ensuring you have clear grounds for termination, should the employee fail to perform their duties as expected. However, there are other potential benefits as well. A contract can also protect you from litigation for wrongful termination, and it offers the ability to clearly define your expectations of the employee.

Potential Disadvantages to Employment Contracts

Although the benefits to an employment contract are notable, there are some disadvantages as well. One of the most concerning is the way a contract may limit your flexibility. For example, if your company undergoes significant changes, or you need to terminate the employee for reasons outside of those outlined in the contract (i.e. no longer needing the employee), you may run into trouble.

This is why it is critical to discuss the possible pros and cons of using an employment contract with your attorney. Further, you should ensure you seek guided assistance in the drafting of that contract, should you decide to use one.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we take the time to understand the unique challenges of our clients and their businesses. In every situation, we strive to find creative solutions to meet their needs. Learn how we can help your company. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys today.