Experience. Knowledge. Results.

EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY

The working relationship between an employer and its employees is complicated and multifaceted. Often, an employer will proclaim: “My employees are my most valuable resource.” There is a special bond of trust in an employment relationship on both sides. However, often one party crosses the line, breaks that bond of trust, and the employment relationship is forever altered. The employment landscape is guided by many complex laws and regulations which involve legal issues as diverse as discrimination, wage and hour issues, wrongful termination, exit strategies and severance arrangements, trade secrets, restrictive covenants and unemployment compensation just to name a few. The wrong step can have disastrous consequences.

William P. Boznos has spent more than 30 years working with as a corporate Human Resources Manager as well as a Human Resources Director for several Fortune 500 Companies interacting daily with company CEO’s and Human Resources Departments handling employment issues from the management side, so he knows how they approach cases. Having this valuable and unique insight into their motivation allows him to give better advice to our clients about the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and practical considerations in going forward with an employment law claim.

We can guide you through this matrix of employment law. We have represented clients before many governmental agencies including the EEOC, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Illinois Human Rights Commission, Illinois Department of Labor, Illinois Department of Employment Security, OSHA, as well as State and Federal Courts.

In addition to responding after the damage has been done, we have developed a proactive approach involving early counseling and HR Audits to expose problem areas before they become major liability concerns. We have developed many types of Employment Handbooks to assist in defining reasonable company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local rules and regulations.

EMPLOYMENT LAW FOR EMPLOYERS

Helping Business Owners Navigate Employment Law

Boznos Law Office will help you protect your company and minimize the risk of costly litigation. To be successful, a company must not only understand its business but it must also understand how to successfully navigate employment relationships. A poorly managed employment relationship can be extremely costly in terms of both productivity and liability. We help our business clients avoid problems, grow their business and minimize the risk of litigation. As your employment law advocate, we assist employers in areas such as hiring, firing, performance management and corrective action, compensation setting, ranges and banding, job descriptions, promotions, and reductions in force. We also deliver individualized training and can develop mentoring programs to advance your high potential employees so you can build depth and succession planning. If you are just starting up your business, or are moving at a pace where infrastructure may have taken a back seat to growth, we can advise you and implement effective policies and procedures.

EMPLOYMENT LAW FOR EMPLOYEES

Fighting for Workplace Fairness

Boznos Law Office represents employees in disputes with their employers. Many of our clients come to us because they’ve had a particularly troubling experience at work unlike any they’ve had before. Some workplace behaviors are so outside the norm that they are prohibited by law. We work with clients who have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, denial of fair or promised compensation, denial of reasonable accommodations or family and medical leave, or wrongful termination. For these situations, we aggressively pursue your rights, provide clarity on the facts and law and a comprehensive plan for resolution of the problem.

How often have you heard the phrase “Our employees are our most valuable assets?” Mere words? Almost every day we hear of mistreatment of these “most valuable assets.” Boznos Law prides itself in aggressively protecting the rights of employees to make certain the playing field is level. Often, reasonable solutions can be arrived at. However, we will not hesitate to litigate to right a wrong.

Whats going on

LATEST NEWS & UPDATES

Illinois Enacts Salary History Ban






No, An Employer Can’t Ask Salary History in Illinois
Anymore!!!!





Effective September 29, 2019, it will be
illegal for an employer in Illinois to ask or use the salary history of an
applicant in making employment decisions. Governor Pritzker has just signed an
amendment to the Equal Pay Act which makes that practice unlawful. Was he moved
by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team that is claiming unequal pay for the same work
as their male counterparts? Laudable, but unlikely. Statistics show that
females in Illinois earn, on average, only 79% of what males earn. As an
employment law attorney that seeks to promote equal justice in all areas of
employment, I applaud this move.





The Equal Pay Act has been in existence since 2003. In general, it makes it illegal to pay employees differently on the basis of sex or race. The new amendment which the Governor just signed puts some teeth into the law by mandating that an employer can NOT:





  • Screen out job applicants based on their current or prior wage histories;
  • Seek salary history from a current or former employer;
  • Request or require salary history as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition for being interviewed, or as a condition for continuing to be considered for a job, or as a condition for an offer of employment.




In addition to these prohibitions, the new
law also protects employees’ rights to discuss wages and benefits with
others.  As a result, it is now unlawful
for an employer to discipline an employee for discussing wages with other
employees or for the employer to require an employee to sign a contract or
waiver prohibiting them from discussing wages or benefits with other employees.
Since many employers have policies that say employees cant discuss wages with
others, this is an area that must be revisited and changed immediately.





So, if an employer is restricted in what they can’t ask, are there any things an employer can ask? The Answer is yes. An employer may properly ask:





  • An employer CAN provide information about
    wages and benefits for a particular position and ask the applicant if those are
    within the applicant’s expectations;
  • An employer CAN engage in a conversation
    with an applicant as to the applicant’s expectations of salary or benefits
    without first disclosing the total compensation (salary/benefits) that come
    with a position;




If an applicant voluntarily discloses
his/her salary history then no violation exists so long as the employer does
not use that information in making a hiring decision.





While there is still time to change
employment practices before the effective date of the new law, at a very
minimum, all Illinois employers should immediately review their employment
applications to remove any questions related to salary history. Secondly, they
should cease all screening and interview questions relating to salary or wage
history. Finally, any policy that an employer may have regarding a prohibition
against employees openly discussing salary history need to be revised and
deleted from any policy manual or practice.





The new law carries with it special
damages of up to $10,000.00 per violation, injunctive relief, and my favorite,
attorney’s fees!





With over 35
years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos
Law
work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by
the changes to the employment laws. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or
contact us at www.boznoslawoffice.com/contact-us through our
website.  


Illinois Passes Protection for Organ Donation Leave


Employment Protection for Organ/Blood Donations
Enlarged





Effective January 1, 2020, Illinois
employers must be wary not to retaliate or take any employment related actions
against employees who request time off or take leaves of absence related to
organ donation. This is an amendment to the Living Donor Protection Act (the “Act”)
and was signed by Governor Pritzker on August 2, 2019. As we have seen so far
with the passage of many new employment related laws, and with major changes to
the employment law landscape in the offing, the current Governor of Illinois is
greatly expanding the rights of employees in this State.





Under the Act, an employee is allowed to take
leaves of up to 30 days in a 12 month period for bone marrow or organ donation,
up to one hour for blood donation, and up to 2 hours for platelet donations.
Employees are required to request the time off in advance. Significantly,
employers may NOT require employees to use accumulated sick time or vacation pay
before being eligible for organ donation leave.





The Act also amends the Illinois Insurance
Code by making it  unlawful to refuse to
insure or limit coverage for life, disability, or long term care coverage or
charge a different rate for the same coverage, solely because the insured is a
living organ donor.





With over 35
years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos
Law
work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by
the changes to the employment laws. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or
contact us at www.boznoslawoffice.com/contact-us through our
website.  


“No-Match” Letters. A new tool to detect undocumented workers


Latest Immigration Enforcement Tactic…





The Return of the “No Match”
Letter





Immigration reform has been the hot button topic throughout the country for the past several years and has really intensified under the current Trump Administration. Perhaps nowhere else is this being felt as harshly as in the employment area. There have been Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on employers (large and small), Notice of Inspections by ICE requesting I-9 information from employers, and now a new tactic of trying to locate undocumented aliens is being used - “No Match” letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA).





What exactly is a “No-Match” letter? It is
simply a notification to an employer that the information provided by the
employer to the SSA by way of a W-2 Form contains discrepancies between the
names and social security numbers on an employee’s W-2 Form and what is
contained in the SSA database.   On its face, the SSA states that it is only
looking to correct its records to ensure that workers are properly credited
with earnings records to their SSA accounts for future benefit payouts, and not
to identify undocumented workers. There are some very innocent and common errors
that can be rectified easily, such as a name change, typographical errors or
other mistakes not attributable to data misuse (use of a false social security
number). An employer receiving a “No-Match” letter has 60 days to provide the
necessary corrections.





While all of this sounds like the government is looking out for employees and trying to ensure they are properly credited with earnings for later social security benefit payments,  these “No-Match” letters also have the potential to be used by ICE to seek out undocumented aliens in the workforce. Recently we have seen ICE using facial recognition technology on drivers licenses or other forms of identification to try and determine illegal status. Under current regulations, the SSA may share “No-Match” information with ICE.





What does all this mean for an employer?





Employers should document their efforts to
obtain corrected name and/or social security information from employees and
retain that information for 3 years. ICE may conduct an audit of an employer at
any time and the lack of these steps and records could produce liability from
an employer as to its record keeping responsibilities.





Employers should not take disciplinary
action, terminate, or otherwise disrupt the employment of identified employees
simply because that employee shows up on a “No-Match” list sent by SSA. An
employer who discriminates against an employee in such a situation could face
civil fines for unlawful immigration related discrimination.





In 2015, the United States Department of
Justice published guidance to assist employers when faced with “No-Match”
situations:





DO:





  1. Recognize that name/SSN “No-Matches” can result from simple administrative errors;
  2. Check the reported "No-Match" information against your personnel records;
  3. Ask the employee to confirm his/her name/SSN reflected in personnel records;
  4. Advise the employee to contact the SSA to correct and/or update his/her SSA records;
  5.  Give the employee a reasonable time period to address “No-Match” issues with the SSA;
  6. Follow the same procedure for all employees regardless of citizenship status or national origin;
  7. Review any document the employee chooses to offer showing a resolution of the “No-Match”;
  8. Submit any employer or employee corrections to the SSA.




DON’T:





  1. Assume the “No-Match” conveys information regarding the employee’s immigration status or actual work authority;
  2. Use the receipt of a “No-Match” letter alone as a basis to terminate, suspend or take other adverse action against the employee;
  3. Attempt to immediately re-verify the employee’s employment eligibility by requesting completion of a new Form I-9 based solely on the no-match notification;
  4. Follow different procedures for different classes of employees based on national origin or citizenship status.




Due to the sensitive nature of the
workplace issues involved, employers should take receipt of “No-Match” letters
seriously and work with experienced labor and employment counsel such as Boznos
Law to develop a measured and appropriate response plan.





With over 35 years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the changes to the employment laws. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us at www.boznoslawoffice.com/contact-us through our website.