In 2017, more than 200 new laws are set to take effect in Illinois, many of them aimed at improving the quality of life for workers across the state and aid in their upward mobility in a rapidly changing economy. However, one law slated to take effect early this year has been pushed back to 2018 to allow businesses to prepare and adapt to its coming implementation.
The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program (ISCSP) will require companies open for business for at least two years with 25 or more employees to offer employees a retirement plan using Roth IRAs or access to state retirement programs. Workers need to understand the impending law as they will automatically be enrolled in the program and see deductions made unless they specifically opt out of the system.
The ISCSP applies to private sector employees, and the employer must furnish workers with information packets that include various investment options as well as the risks associated with them. Employees must pick an IRA to put deductions in and if they do not, the employer must take 3 percent of the worker’s income and place it into a state-run investment program.
Employers do not have to match any employee contributions and may also set up their own employee-retirement savings programs like a 401(k) or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plan. Employers covered under the ISCSP who do not comply with the law could also face penalties from state regulators, making compliance all the more important.
Illinois employment lawyers for businesses
Employers are expected to comply with and understand the ISCSP and other new business laws coming into effect this year and the years to come. As with other matters of strict liability, employers cannot claim ignorance of the law as an excuse for failing to implement mandates under various provisions.
To help avoid costly civil penalties and time-consuming investigations, businesses should strongly consider speaking to an experienced Illinois employment lawyer for businesses. With over 25 years of experience helping business owner comply with the law, the dedicated attorneys of Goldman & Ehrlich know what it takes to help companies avoid costly mistakes.
For a consultation about your business and how you can keep your employees protected, contact our office. Our Illinois employment lawyers serve clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.
New legislation recently took effect allowing certain ex-offenders to work in state institutions like schools and park districts a certain amount of years after their conviction and jail terms. Like many other laws taking effect this year, the law is a significant and progressive move designed at strengthening the power workers have to help provide for themselves and their families during difficult economic times.
Furthermore, allowing certain types of ex-offenders into the state workforce can help to break up the cycle of poverty and recidivism plaguing men and women who have otherwise served their debt to society. Ex-offenders are especially at risk for many of the pitfalls any person can be susceptible of in a volatile economy and should be given an opportunity to re-enter society and be able to provide for themselves and their families.
Other new laws taking effect this year also allow ex-felons to apply for state licensing to work in various industries their criminal record would otherwise have denied. Some of the 118 occupations for which ex-felons can now apply for licensure include cosmetology, hair and nail care, roofing, and funeral services.
Can my employer check my criminal background in Illinois?
While allowing ex-offenders to apply for state jobs and licensures is a huge step towards rebuilding lives and communities, Illinois also bars private employers from looking into the criminal backgrounds of applicants deemed qualified to perform the job. Under the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (JOQAA), employers and employment agencies cannot ask qualified applicants about their criminal background until a conditional offer is extended.
Individuals should also know there are exceptions to the JOQAA, which can still bar felons from gaining employment with certain organizations. The three categories of job applicants which can still be denied employment due to criminal backgrounds include:
State and federal jobs requiring background checks by law;
Companies employing workers under the Illinois Emergency Medical Systems Act; and
Jobs needing a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond.
To help protect workers, the Illinois Department of Labor enforces the law and may impose penalties on organizations violating the law. Furthermore, employees who feel they may have been illegally discriminated against due to their criminal background may also discuss their case with an experienced Illinois employment lawyer to recover compensation, if available, under various state laws.
Reach out to us today for help
Contact our office to speak to one of the qualified Illinois employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich. Our office serves clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.
An Orland Park man recently filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against an area Chick-Fil-A restaurant alleging the fast food company denied him employment due to his disability despite references vouching for his capabilities. The claim, filed on December 23, 2016, claims the plaintiff’s work coach spoke with the restaurant about hiring the man but was told the eatery was not interested in hiring a person with the plaintiff’s disability.
According to the complaint, “The branch manager responded that Chick-Fil-A was not interested in hiring people with disabilities. When the job coach reiterated that she thought (the plaintiff) would do a good job, the branch manager stated that people with disabilities would not be able to succeed at Chick-Fil-A.”
The allegations, if true, could possibly constitute a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and carry substantial penalties, including paying restitution to the plaintiff. While the plaintiff’s autistic condition may prevent him from doing certain things, he and his life coach believe if an employer makes certain reasonable accommodations, as required under federal labor laws, the plaintiff could perform his duties adequately.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.” Under the ADA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities and make facilities like bathrooms and entrances accessible to differently abled persons.
Employers who are sued by the government for not complying with the ADA may be subject to substantial civil penalties, even for first-time violations if egregious enough. Maximum penalties for first-time violations may be as high as $55,000 to $75,000 and subsequent violations may be as high as $150,000. Individuals who sue the employer can recover all lost wages and benefits, be reinstated with appropriate accommodations, compensatory damages, and be reimbursed for their legal fees.
One of the most common myths associated with the ADA is that compliance can cost businesses too much, either leading to loss of productivity or refusal to consider otherwise qualified applicants. The truth is that only three percent of accommodations cost businesses more than $1,000 and the overwhelming majority cost substantially less to help workers thrive in the workplace.
Contact our Chicago employment discrimination lawyers for help
If you believe your rights were violated under the ADA or another state or federal labor law, contact our office to discuss your case. For over 25 years, the dedicated Chicago employment discrimination lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich have helped employees in their times of need and hold wrongdoers accountable.
Goldman & Ehrlich is located in Chicago, IL and serves clients in and around Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.
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