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Chicago Legal Issues Blog

Wrongful discharge and employment law basics

Wrongful discharge is an important Chicago employment law issue for both employees and employers to be familiar with. It is important for both employees and employers to be familiar with what wrongful discharge is and when it can lead to employment litigation.

Circumstances that can lead to a wrongful discharge claim and possible employment litigation can include when anti-discrimination laws are violated. There are certain protected characteristics that employees cannot be discriminated against based upon which include race or color; national origin; gender; religion; age; pregnancy; or disability. In addition, if the employee is not an at-will employee and has a contract for their employment and the contractual obligation is breached, it can lead to a potential wrongful termination claim.

How do I select the best business form for my business?

Selecting the best business form for your business is an important question that should be carefully considered. The selection of a business form impacts liability, taxation, how much the business costs to run, control of the business, capitalization and other considerations as well which is why new business owners and entrepreneurs should not make the decision lightly.

The legal process provides resources, tools and options to help new business owners select the best business form that is right for their business in both the short term and the long term and can account for the business's future needs and goals as it grows and expands. When considering business formation and planning, there are several different business forms to consider with different advantages and potential downsides as well.

What is a breach of contract?

Businesses in Illinois and elsewhere enter into agreements with hopes to benefit them. Whether it is a simple business agreement or a major business deal, the terms of this business contract are essential. If a party to the agreement does not adhere to these terms, then issues could arise. In some cases, a breach occurs, causing the non-breaching party to bring about a legal action.

What is a breach of contract? To begin, a business contract is a document that outlines the obligations that are to be fulfilled by the parties entering into the agreement. When a party to the agreement fails to fulfill any part of its contractual obligations, this is known as a breach.

Benefits of alternative dispute resolution methods

When your business faces a dispute, the thought of the time, cost and resources to be spent on finding a resolution can be daunting. Whether due to a breach of contract, disagreement among partners or shareholders or more, a commercial dispute may benefit from a resolution decided on outside of traditional litigation.

Alternative dispute resolution methods of mediation and arbitration are an increasingly common way to resolve disputes for companies based in Chicago and across the country. While some contracts may require that the parties first attempt an alternative dispute resolution technique, in many cases, coming to a resolution in a more amicable setting can benefit your business in several ways.

Chicago musicians continue to strike during contract dispute

When a business relationship is formed, many ups and downs could occur. Although a contract between the parties involved memorializes this relationship and the agreements they have, this does not mean no issues will be present. This is especially true if one party to the agreement is not holding up their part of the agreement. Furthermore, if there is a breach in the business contract, this could give rise to a dispute among the parties.

Such an event is evidenced between the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and their musicians. According to recent reports, the musicians walked out when an agreement for a new contract was not reached last month. This conflict arose when both sides to the contract decided to do what they believe to be right. For the musicians, they seek to defend their hard-won benefits and for a salary that recognizes their status of the top American orchestra. In contrast, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra believes they are rightfully holding out for a change to their pension plan, as it could guarantee a more secure financial future.

Understanding gender discrimination in the workplace

As any woman in Illinois and elsewhere can attest, strides for women have been made over the past several decades. And while it has been made known that women have the ability to perform equally to their male counterparts, women are still treated as if this is not the case. Gender discrimination still exists in society, and when it occurs, it can have a damaging effect.

Whether it is in the hiring, promotion or termination process, basing these decisions on one's gender is discrimination. Additionally, if an employee is treated differently because of their gender, this is also considered discrimination. Whether it is having a lower salary than a man in the same position or having fewer opportunities when it comes to advancements, it is possible to take action.

Taking action following discrimination in the workplace

A workplace can be filled with many dynamics. Each individual employee brings his or her own expertise and personality, while the demands of the workplace can put strains on the interactions and relationships between and among employees. While the workplace is suppose to be a positive and safe environment, this does not always occur. Some employees are faced with mistreatment and harassment, calling into question whether or not they have any action they can take to resolve the matter.

Situations involving discrimination can be difficult to address. An employee is not only emotional about what they have experienced, they are fearful that they may be retaliated against for speaking up about the situation. At Walker Morton, LLP, our attorneys are aware of the concerns any employee would have in these situations. Thus, we are devoted to helping individuals in the Chicago area understand their rights and what actions they could take.

What happens when an immigrant overstays their visa in the U.S.?

There are a variety of reasons to apply for a visa to enter the United States. Immigrants entering the U.S. at Illinois or any other state should understand that a visa holds certain restrictions or requirements. In other words, a visa, no matter what type, does not afford a foreign national the right to remain in America for as long as they want. Every visa has an end date, and when that end date comes and goes and an immigrant remains in the U.S., this could result in serious penalties.

What happens when an immigrant overstays their visa in the U.S.? To begin, once the end date of a visa is reached, the visa is considered void. If an immigrant admitted to the U.S. on a valid visa has overstayed the time period of the visa, he or she will be considered ineligible to be readmitted into the U.S. as a nonimmigrant.

Applying for an E-3 work visa

Foreign nationals across the globe come to America for a wide variety of reasons. One of these reasons is for work. Whether it is long term or for a short duration, immigrants need to get the proper documentation and file the appropriate paperwork to work in the U.S. In some cases, specific work visas are designed for immigrants of certain countries.

Take the E-3 visa, for example. This visa is designed for Australian nationals. In order to qualify for this specific work visa, the applicant must be an Australian national, have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S., possess the necessary academic background or qualifying credentials and will fill a position that qualifies as a special occupation.

Aide of Illinois House Speaker accused of sexual harassment

In part due to social changes and awareness brought about by the "me too" movement, places of employment in Illinois and elsewhere are becoming more conscious of certain conduct in the workplace. Sexual harassment and assault are serious allegations to make against an employer or colleague. When an employee asserts these charges, it could result in employment litigation, especially if an employee had to quit or was terminated after making a complaint.

According to reports, the former political aide to the Illinois House Speaker alleged that one of the top aides sexually harassed and assaulted her. These charges were originally filed last year; however, new details about the allegations have been revealed. Supposedly, the House Speaker's office did not act upon the complaints made by one of the female aides.

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