West Suburban Attorney Handling Employee Rights Cases
Why Work With an Attorney to Resolve Workplace Challenges?
As an employee with legal concerns at the workplace, you may have many questions, such as:
- Will legal representation will be cost-effective when you wish to have an employment contract reviewed?
- Will filing a complaint or discrimination claim make your situation worse or even lead to a discharge or demotion?
- Do I have a viable discrimination claim?
- Am I being paid all the overtime wages I am owed?
Rest assured that many employee clients of the Law Offices of Colleen M. McLaughlin have had similar concerns and have been well satisfied with the results of our knowledgeable counsel and advocacy. Peace of mind is well worth the investment and skillful representation often brings about desired results.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
Employees call upon our services for a variety of reasons, such as when they believe they have been discriminated or retaliated against. State and federal anti-discrimination laws provide employees protection against:
- Race discrimination
- National origin (ethnicity) discrimination
- Ancestry discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Sex or gender discrimination
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual orientation discrimination
- Hostile work environment
- Disability discrimination
- Perceived disability discrimination
- Religious discrimination
- Marital status discrimination
- Familial status discrimination
- Military status discrimination
- Citizen status discrimination
- Retaliation for attempting to exercise one’s rights under any of the anti-discrimination laws
Employees also have protections against discrimination and retaliation under various other state and federal laws such as:
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), including failure to accommodate, interference, and retaliation claims
- The Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA)
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- The Illinois Whistleblower Act
- The federal False Claims Act
- Various wage and hour laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Illinois minimum wage law (IMWL)
There are some very rigidly enforced time limitations on when you can file a claim for discrimination or retaliation. In contrast, sometimes your issues may not be legally actionable yet. To be safe, employees should discuss their concerns with an experienced Illinois employment law attorney as soon as they become aware of what they believe are discriminatory or retaliatory actions by their employers.
Will Your Employer Retaliate if You File a Legitimate Complaint?
Some employers do, in fact, retaliate against employees who bring discrimination claims or workers’ compensation claims, employees who refuse to engage in what they believe is an illegal act, or employees who report illegal actions to the “higher-ups” or the government. But, employees do have options and sometimes a separate cause of action for retaliatory discharge (sometimes referred to as “wrongful discharge”). An experienced employment law attorney can advise you on how to protect yourself before making a complaint and how to respond afterward if you are fired or subjected to hostile treatment.
What if My Severance Agreement Contains a Release of All Claims?
Typically, if you are offered a severance agreement, it will contain a general release of all claims, known and unknown, against your employer that arise out of any action by the employer and its agents prior to the date of signing the agreement. Therefore, if you have a valid claim for violations of any of the anti-discrimination laws, Illinois common law or other employment-related statutes, by signing the severance agreement, you will most likely waive your right to recovery against your employer for any discriminatory or retaliatory actions they may have taken against you. So, it is important to have an experienced Illinois employment law attorney review your severance agreement and the facts and circumstances of your termination to help you determine your options.
Our attorneys also advise clients on their rights, options and the legal ramifications of violating a non-compete agreement or other restrictive covenants such as non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.
Our Experience and Reputation Help Resolve Employees’ Legal Concerns
The Law Offices of Colleen M. McLaughlin was built on the foundation of our employment lawyers’ extensive experience and strong reputations. Employees often feel they are powerless; that their issues are at the bottom of the food chain as far as their employers are concerned and that no one at the company is listening to them. Having a strong advocate for your position can make all the difference. Employers take the complaints of employees who obtain reputable legal counsel seriously, and chances of resolving your complaints without resorting to legal action can increase exponentially.
Western Chicago Lawyer Handling Employee Rights Cases
Our clients also have legal concerns about entering into employment arrangements. Most employees are “at will.” But, if you are offered an employment contract, our attorneys can assist you in negotiating an employment or independent contractor agreement at the beginning of your employment arrangement so that you can address your concerns and arrange for certain contractual protections in the event the employment does not work out for any reason.
An Employment Law Firm Dedicated to Resolving Employees’ Workplace Concerns Cost-effectively
In addition, we represent employees who:
- Are whistleblowers and have standing to sue their employers on behalf of the government for their violations of state and federal laws (qui tam actions), including the federal False Claims Act and the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act
- Have wage claims, including overtime, bonus, commissions and vacation pay. Overtime wage claims are generally handled on a class-wide basis. Click here for more details on our wage and hour law experience.