Labor Law

Issues that might arise under the subject of labor law and specifically unemployment defense are often complex and unpredictable. Current economic situation negatively affected not only employees, but also employers. Many business owners struggle within their regular course of business. Instead of helping small and medium size corporations and encouraging people to open new business entities, the government placed multiple burdens on business owners. For example, unemployment benefits insurance was extended and its premium was increased. Moreover, the state of Illinois made a step further and amended its Wage payment and Collection Act, by adding fines and even making it possible to hold employers criminally liable. This page discusses briefly some core concepts of claims for unemployment, employee credit privacy and wage claims and how to defend from such claims. For more information you need to consult with an experienced attorney, who practices in this field. Call us today for a free consultation. 847.241.1299.


Note: Illinois legislature issues new statutes and updates existing statutes quite often. For new developments in Illinois Labor Laws, please click HERE.



UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DEFENSE (Illinois)




Recently Federal unemployment insurance has been extended for 13 months. This means that federal extended unemployment benefits will continue through 2011. How will this change affect Employers:
  • Employers will have to pay higher percentage towards unemployment insurance;
  • The payments will be extended over a longer period of time;
  • The starting rate for new businesses will be higher.

Moreover, the process of filing and claiming unemployment benefits is very relaxed and significantly favors employees.
If you are an Illinois Employer with at least 2 employees you can call our office for a free consultation. 847.241.1299.

Do you need to respond to an unemployment benefits claim filed by an employee against your business?
YES! Here are some of the reasons why:
The process is called unemployment defense. If you are a last chargeable employer and employee is successful in his or her claim, you will pay higher unemployment insurance benefit tax deduction, which may slow down your company’s progress. The rules are very relaxed now and any employee with or without good grounds for a claim can easily file a complaint. Moreover, the burden is on the Employer to prove that employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits. If you do not respond, employee automatically wins, even if he or she was fired for misconduct, and your unemployment deduction tax rate will automatically go up.
Moreover, after an employee files the claim for unemployment insurance benefits against a chargeable employer, the Employer has only a certain amount of time to respond. If an employer misses the deadline, employee wins automatically, even if there is a good cause to appeal on the merits.
 
Why do we care?
It used to be in Illinois that unemployment insurance tax deduction would start below 1% for new businesses. Nowadays, anyone who opens business, would have to pay around 3.5% out of employees’ wages. That is one of the reasons why unemployment defense is a valuable tool for employers. If you recently opened your business, you probably have enough tasks to worry about. The last thing you need is to pay for someone who voluntarily left you and now files for unemployment benefits. Now imagine, that you have made some progress and were able to hire about 25 employees. Two of them left you to work somewhere else, but were unsuccessful to get a new job placement. They would file unemployment benefit claim and you would be the last chargeable employer. If they win, your rate for unemployment benefits tax deduction will go up, which means you would have less money to spend on your business growth.
 
How to keep the unemployment benefits tax rate low?
Keep fighting and it will go down. Of course, you need to be successful and win these claims for unemployment. In order to succeed you need to build a strong unemployment defense for each claim you face. If you do win unemployment claims, the rate can even become lesser than 3.5%, when you opened your business. It works similar to auto insurance. You win claims against you, your insurance would not go up. But if you let these claims go unchallenged, you will have to pay more every month! Our firm has a very experienced team of unemployment defense attorneys which wins hundreds of claims every year. It is very important that you consult with unemployment benefits defense attorney as soon as you receive papers from IDES indicating that a claim for unemployment has been filed against your company. Once again, meeting the deadline is crucial in disputes for unemployment benefits. Moreover, we build each unemployment defense around not only a specific client, but also a specific issue. Whether it is a voluntary leave, job misconduct,  or eeing able and available, the scope of unemployment hearing is very narrow and is limited to the issue provided in the notice. Sometimes unemployment defense procedure becomes very technical and procedural. It might take several hours to research the specific claim. But in the end the results could be very rewarding for your business entity. We do understand, that you, as a business owner, might not have too much time to deal with every unemployment benefits claim filed against you. That is why we offer our knowledge, experience and desire to help Illinois corporations, defend and prevent Illinois business owners from paying a high unemployment insurance tax rate.


True or False:
  1. If employee gave a two-week notice and requested to leave earlier (before two-week period expires), he or she still file a claim for unemployment benefits. TRUE. Not only employees are allowed by law to file unemployment benefits claims, it is also very likely that they will succeed. Remember, that under the current rules, the burden is on the Employer to prove that employee left voluntarily and not for a good cause attributable to the employer.
  2. If employee commits a misconduct, an employer can terminate employee and the employee will not be eligible to receive unemployment compensation. FALSE. Misconduct must be deliberate and willful. Which means an employee must do something wrong. Furthermore, he or she must receive a warning and only upon second or third violation of the same employer's policy the employee can be terminated. Employee can still file for unemployment benefits, but it is more likely that employer will prevail.
  3. If employee quits the job, he or she can still file for unemployment benefits. TRUE. If employee can prove that he or she left the place of employment due to "good cause" attributable to the employer, the employee can still qualify for the unemployment benefits. What can be a "good cause?" Practically anything, even a slight change in the employee's job environment. Moreover, any promotion is considered to be a change! Employee can always claim that promotion brings more responsibility for which the employee is not ready or simply does not want it.
  4. If employee is hired by a temporary agency the burden is on employee to periodically check with the agency for more work. TRUE. Each employee that get his paycheck from an agency must requestt more work if current assignment is over. There is a rebuttable presumption that employee must overcome to show that employee is actively seeking work.
     


Did you know...?
  • Employee can claim unemployment insurance and IDES might grant it to the employee without charging an employer!? The section in unemployment code is 601B. This provision operates as an exception for both employee and employer. It is very narrow an applies to instances when employee might care for a sick family member or there is a case of domestic violence or sexual harassment at the work place. If this is the case, the employee will be eligible for unemployment benefits but the employer's rate will not go up!

Legal Issues

Lack of Work
What does this phrase mean? In every day routine life we use this phrase when we refer to a period of time when we don't have much to do. In work environment it means that you, as business owner may experience some delays in supplies or orders and not as busy as usual. In any event, this is usually a temporary event in a regular course of business. In unemployment dispute matters the phrase "lack of work" is a very powerful tool for employees. If a claimant has exhausted all reasonable grounds to become eligible for unemployment payments, he or she usually would refer to "lack of work" as a fallback or alternative issue. Because "lack of work" is defined very broadly in unemployment dispute contest, it can be anything: a temporary cut of hours, change of clientele, or employees sometimes refer to this term to excuse their own absence from work. It is not easy to convince a referee that such "lack of work" was not permanent and other options were available to the employee. That is why it is very important to keep careful records and timely submit them to the board of review.

Voluntarily Leave 601(A)

An individual shall be ineligible for benefits for the week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the employing unit.
The disqualification continues until the individual has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of 4 calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported pursuant to the provisions of FICA.
But be CAREFUL! Even if an individual has left the place of employment voluntarily and without a good cause attributable to the employee THERE ARE 7 EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


For more information
CALL 847.241.1299.
For more substantive rules on unemployment law in illinois click here.



Unemployment Appeal Procedure



Here are some useful highlights of the unemployment appeal procedure.

First of all, the hearing is always conducted over the phone. The judge will call each party and their attorneys and connect everyone into a conference call. It is convenient, on one hand, beacuse you dont have to drive to any court, but on the other, you don't actually see your opponent, which makes it a little bit difficult.

Second, the judge will establish jurisdiction. Meaning, that the parties must do everything in a timely manner:
  • Claimant must file his or her claim
  • Respondent (employer) must protest it before the due date (usually 10 days from the date of the claim)
  • The losing party must file a timely appeal (usually within 30 days from the date of the determination)

Third, the judge will go over any evidence. The rule is if a party submits evidence for hearing purposes to ALJ (administrative law judge), the party must also submit this evidence to the opponent, or otherwise, it will not be considered.

Fourth, the judge will swear in all of the parties and introduce the issue. The burden of proof is on the employer to prove by preponderance of evidence that an employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits. The judge will ask each party questions and each party will have a chance to cross-examine the opponent. At the very end, each party will have a chance to make a closing statement. Usually, the judge will look only at the latest events that led to the termination of the employment and work backwards if additional background is needed.

So, think about it as if you are in a courtroom, except you don't see anyone. You testify under oath and you cannot accuse another party of lying on the stand while the other party is testifying. Rules of evidence do apply! Even though they are not as strong as in criminal court, but in our practice, very often a judge will sustain an objection.

Finally, you will get a decision by mail, usually within 14 days after the date of hearing. If you lost, it is not the end of the road, you can still take you claim to the Illinois Employment Security Board of Review, that consists of three judges.


Still have questions?
Call us. 847.241.1299

Do you need an attorney?

It depends. The rules of procedure are very specific and difficult. Because of the case load that IDES has to deal with, the case-workers or referees do not allow too much of a latitude. They would rather grant unemployment benefits claim and move on to the next case, than go into the merits of it. This would be true, of course, if you do not act. There are some unemployment defense cases that employers can win on their own. But the majority of unemployment defense issues are very specific and employer would need either to spend lots of time researching the topic or hire somebody else to do it. Our law firm has been dealing with unemployment defense issues for a very long time. We can provide testimonials from clients for whom we are saving $4,000.00 to $6,000.00 average per month. Of course, it depends on the size of the company and number of the employees. Call us 24/7 for a free evaluation. 847.241.1299.

Medium and Large businesses and corporations
:
we are offering a convenient prepaid legal services plan, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars on each claim we win for you!


Small companies:
you can hire us on case-by-case basis with a set amount of hours per each case, so you will be in control of the legal fees budget!

 

847-241-1299. CALL NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!
 

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0 #19 Fedor 2013-11-17 18:11
James,

I would say no because it is an administrative procedure.
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0 #18 James 2013-11-17 18:00
I hired an attorney for my appeal and won my appeal my former employer lied and said i had been terminated but i was laid off i had overwhelming evidence that i was laid off and paid 1200 dollars for an attorney.Can i sue my former employer for attorney cost.
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0 #17 Fedor 2013-03-30 17:20
Ray,

At this time you have 30 days from the dater of the decision by ALJ to appeal your matter to the Board of appeals. In order to get a full understanding of what had transpired at the time of the hearing we need to order a transcript of your proceedings. Please contact our office for more information. Please remember that the time is of the essence in your case.
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0 #16 Ray A. 2013-03-30 00:09
For clarification, I never ever asked any customer for graduity.
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0 #15 Ray A. 2013-03-30 00:07
My former employer discharged me for misconduct 602a because of something I did NOT do. My employer stated that there are 3 instances to ask customers for graduity on the termination letter and with IDES stated 4 instances. My employer presented a different company handbook than the one provided to me in the training. My employer changed the handbook to match it with their statment for IDES. Also my employer presented an internal written communication emails to prove their statement. Never my employer I sign any warning and never my employer made for me warning and my employer admited that there were no prior warning it with ALJ. but still ALJ denied my benefits. IS this legal or my employer has a reference with IDES?
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0 #14 Fedor 2013-01-31 17:57
Kayla,
I would need to know a little bit more about your situation. But I am assuming that you are on light duty because of some sort of injury or illness. If the injury is work related, you would probably need to file a claim with workers compensation insurance. It the injury is not work related, you still need a note from a doctor recommending a light duty.
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