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.


Examining the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Illinois small business attorneysIn a sole proprietorship, an individual proprietor (the owner), manages and runs their business. They receive all income for the company, but they are also responsible for its debts, liabilities, and tax obligations. Learn more about this widely used business structure, including its advantages and disadvantages, and how an attorney can assist with the setup.

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Of all the business structures that one can choose, sole proprietorships tend to be the most affordable and easiest to start. Paperwork and other legal items are generally less extensive, and the sole proprietor is only required to comply with state and federal tax laws, zoning laws, and other local regulations, such as licensing laws.

There are also few formal business requirements (except those specific to the industry they operate in), and because the owner has full control over the decision-making power within their business, they may sell or transfer it to another owner or entity at any time they deem necessary. The owner may also change the structure of the business at any time, but it is important to recognize that obligations before the switch may still fall on the owner of the company.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Unlike other business structures, sole proprietorships are not protected from liabilities and bad debts incurred by their company. Instead, they may be held personally liable. In extreme situations, this can cause the business and the owner to simultaneously go bankrupt. Furthermore, the sole proprietor is required to pay all federal taxes on any income earned, and they may be penalized if they do not meet their obligation.

Another major disadvantage is that few investors are willing to put money or energy into a sole proprietorship; quite simply, there just is not enough protection for the investor. As such, sole proprietor business owners typically rely on personal loans and assets to finance the company. If the business fails, this can result in a serious financial loss for the owner of a sole proprietorship.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

Although sole proprietorships are relatively simple and straightforward in terms of setup, there are some obstacles that business owners should be aware of before moving forward. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help ensure that these matters are understood by business owners and that they receive personalized attention to fit their needs. Learn more about how we can assist with your business set-up by scheduling a personalized consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.


2017 Brings Three New Sick Leave Laws to Illinois

DuPage County business law attorneysChanges to business laws are not a new thing, but employers are facing three major updates. Failure to comply with any of these new laws can result in serious consequences for employers, not the least of which may include litigation. Learn what they mean for your company, and how you can get ahead of them to protect your business with help from the following information.

Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Set to take effect July 1, 2017, the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (SLO) is an amendment to the original Minimum Wage Order. It requires that employers provide all of their employees with 40 hours of sick paid leave for 12 months of employment, that at least 20 of those hours be carried over to the next 12 months of employment if they are not used, and that an additional 40 hours be carried over to cover any leave that qualified under the Family Medical Leave Act. It applies to all Chicago employers with one or more covered employees (worked at least 80 hours within a 120-day employment period). However, employers do not have to grant this leave until their employees have been employed for at least 180 days.

Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance is quite similar to the Chicago SLO: Employees must be permitted to earn up to 40 hours of sick leave over a 12 month work period, and they must be permitted to carry over at least 20 hours for the next 12 months, and 40 hours for the purpose of any qualifying FMLA time off. However, there are some differences between the two ordinances. For one, the provision extends beyond the city of Chicago and extends to all of Cook County, including unincorporated areas. Secondly, some businesses may be exempt from this particular law. Before assuming an exemption, it is critical that Cook County businesses speak with an experienced attorney about their situation.

Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, covers the entire state of Illinois. It is different from the Cook County and Chicago SLOs in that it does not require employers to offer paid sick leave earnings. It does, however, expand the reasons that employees can take paid sick leave absences. They may take time off for the illness, injury, or medical treatment of a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, stepparent, father-in-law, or mother-in-law.

Prepare and Protect Your Company from Litigation

To avoid litigation, employers should ensure their policies and implementation of those policies are in compliance with the law. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can work with you and your business work through the changes and transition. To learn more about our comprehensive services, call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys today.