Illinois Upholds the Right to Yelp – What Business Owners Should Know About Online Reviews

DuPage County business law attorneysBusiness owners are used to word of mouth publicity. They even know how to encourage it in the right context – but today's consumer is different. He or she uses social media and the internet to determine where they will shop, eat, or purchase goods. Online reviews, such as those left on review sites like Yelp, play a key role in their decisions.

Many business owners have struggled with this new platform, and some have even attacked the right to leave reviews online, claiming there is no way to verify that the consumer even visited their establishment. However, the law has upheld a consumer's right to use such sites. Learn what this could mean for your business in the following sections, and discover how an experienced business law attorney may be able to help boost your company's bottom line.

The Consumer's Right to Yelp and Your Business

Because consumers have the right to leave online reviews without the fear of retaliation, business owners should handle their bad reviews carefully. Never address a customer or reviewer in a negative fashion, and attempt to rectify the issue if you can. Other consumers may see this and make a different decision about your company, based on what they see. Business owners should also avoid making any retaliatory statements, and they should understand that they do not have any form of recourse against reviews.

Using a Bad Review as Constructive Criticism

In addition to respecting the consumer's right to leave a review and addressing the issues they experienced at a business establishment, business owners can attempt to use the review as a form of constructive criticism. Doing this can ultimately improve the experiences that your consumers have, and it can boost your company's bottom line. It may also clue you in as to whether an employee should be terminated, coached, or needs additional training.

There may also be gaps in your employee handbook that have created confusion about an employee's job duties or your expectations of them. Again, you can use the review to mitigate and potentially solve such issues within your company. In areas such as this, a skilled attorney can help.

Contact Our Wheaton Business Law Attorneys

Whether your company needs help with clarifying its employee handbook or you need assistance in dealing with a legal matter, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Dedicated and experienced, our Wheaton business law attorneys have more than 40 years of experience and knowledge in the small business sector. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule your personalized consultation with us today.

Source:

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/01/02/illinois-law-negative-yelp-reviews/

Is Your Small Business Violating Federal Labor Laws?

DuPage County business law attorneysAll businesses – even small ones – must comply with applicable federal labor laws. How do you know if your small business is violating one? The first step is to examine the four most commonly violated labor laws. The second is to ensure you have an experienced attorney on your side. Learn more with help from the following information.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family Medical Leave Act is meant to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain medical or family issues (i.e. death, birth or care of a newborn child, placement of an adopted child or foster child, and caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition). However, not all employees or businesses may be entitled. Companies with fewer than 50 employees may not be obligated to provide family medical leave, and any employee who has not worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months may be ineligible for this protection.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

In 2013 and 2014, the Department of Labor implemented two new laws to strengthen the discrimination protections against veterans and individuals with disabilities. The first rule is known as the Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), encourages employers to adopt benchmarks for hiring veterans; they can use either the federal goal of 8 percent of employees, or they can create their own benchmark using labor statistics, hiring circumstances, and company needs and desires. The second rule is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and it requires that contractors strive for an aspirational utilization goal of individuals with disabilities of about 7 percent, or 7 percent of each job group for larger employers.

NLRA Protections for Non-Union Workers

While the National Labor Relations Act deals mostly with unions, there are a few ways that it protects the rights of employees in non-unionized positions. For example, the NLRA protects the rights of employees who wish to unionize, collectively bargain, or engage in concerned activity for their mutual benefit and protection. Restricting this right as an employer can cost you dearly, as can restricting too much of what an employee posts on social media. Whether you need help crafting a non-disclosure agreement or want to ensure you are not violating the union protection laws, contact an experienced attorney.

Fair Labor Standards Act and IRS Misclassification

Many small businesses rely on independent contractors to ensure certain tasks are done. Often, this is because a contractor is more cost-efficient and easier to manage. However, employers should be aware that, in some circumstances, a contractor could become an employee under the federal law. Generally, this is determined by examining the relationship between your company and the contractor, the financial factors, and behavioral factors. If you are uncertain about the status of one of your workers, avoid the consequences of a misclassified employee and contact an experienced lawyer for assistance.

Contact Our Seasoned DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC understands the challenges that small businesses face, and we strive to mitigate against them. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County business law attorneys can examine the legal aspects of your business to ensure proper compliance, and to reduce the risk of litigation. Get experienced assistance by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call 630-665-2500 today.

Sources:

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6509-business-labor-laws.html

https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla

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.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-rauner-minimum-wage-deadline-0826-biz-20170825-story.html