Articles Posted in Wage Protections

Are Employee Non-Compete Agreements Still Valid for Low-Level Employees? Non-Compete-Clause-e1417451038467-300x171

Non-compete arguments are staple in every Chicago Business Lawyer’s legal arsenal and a necessary to protect a business under certain circumstances.  A non-compete agreement, also known as a non-competition covenant or clause, is an agreement between an employer and an employee that places restrictions on the employee after the employment relationship ends.  Non-compete agreements can be useful tools for businesses that want to protect their investment in the training and development of their staff.  Typically, these agreements restrict former employees from working for certain competitors for a specified period of time.  Although Illinois courts tend to dislike non-competes, courts will enforce a non-compete agreement if drafted property.

When considering the enforceability of non-compete agreements, Illinois courts look to see if the agreement is reasonable and supported by adequate consideration.  In particular, when determining the reasonableness of a non-compete, the court considers whether the terms of the agreement are no more than what is required to protect the legitimate business interest of the employer, and narrowly tailored in terms of time, activity and place.

CAUTION! WATCH OUT FOR THESE WAGE-AND-HOUR PITFALLSmoneycalculator-300x201

The U.S. Department of Labor has been cracking down on wage and hour infractions, and it may be time to review your overtime procedures and policies–it is all too easy to violate wage and hour regulations unwittingly.

Sometimes DOL complaints seem trivial. We lawyers have a saying–the “de minims” rule, which says “some things are too trivial to merit consideration.”

Aerial-fall-Lincolnpark-300x158Blockchain and Chicago Businesses

In September of 2015, the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society’s World Economic Forum[1] predicted that by 2025, 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain related technology.  If you are a Chicago business owner and you are unsure what that means or how it might affect your company, you want to speak to a Chicago business attorney as soon as possible to learn all that you can about this rapidly growing technology.

What Is Blockchain Technology?

dental officeDentists face new problems with overtime for their employees.  The Fair Labor Standards Act[1] (FLSA) sets forth standards for both minimum wages and overtime pay as well as record keeping for businesses.  Whether your dental practice consists of two employees or a hundred employees spread across three office locations, federal law requires that all dental offices comply with FLSA overtime regulations by December 1, 2016.

Exempt Versus Non-Exempt Employees

In order to determine if you are in compliance with FLSA regulations, the first step is to review which employees are designated as exempt, and not owed overtime wages, versus non-exempt. FLSA rules establish three types of exempt employees[2] which are defined by an individual’s employment description rather than their job title including:

caregiver3     Implementation of the new rules extending the minimum wage protections to home care employees have been delayed.  Comprised of about two million workers nationwide, this low wage labor group remains marginalized and disenfranchised even as the national debate over fair wage compensation heats up.

As is the case with undocumented labors these “companionship services” workers perform the jobs that few Americans are willing to do.  These are the people who execute invisible and often unpalatable tasks for the home bound, including bathing, transferring, toilet assistance, meal preparation and help eating, toilet assistance and sometime housecleaning.  In most cases, the job requires attention to the personal and private needs of the elderly and infirm.

According to the original rules – which are essentially unchanged since 1975 –  companionship workers were “exempted” from anything like fair labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  As applied by the FLSA in this case, “exempted” is an ironic term that normally means one is excused from something undesirable.  Up until the rule change in the fall of 2013, companionship workers were not covered by the Federal minimum wage laws and not required to be paid overtime after 40 hours. This is understandable to a large degree, because the original exemption was intended to cover so called “elder sitters” whose primary function really was to provide companionship. A lot has changed in the health care business since then, and courts have generally interpreted the definition of companionship workers broadly. That means even more workers were exempted from wage protections over the years.