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The HR Specialist: Illinois Employment Law

When HR receives a complaint about sexual or some other form of harassment, immediately put your investigation machinery in motion. Start gathering information before you even meet with the complaining employee. That way, you can’t be accused of ignoring the problem …

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Having a good sexual harassment policy in place doesn’t mean much if your supervisors ignore it. Take, for example, someone who is what we might call “touchy feely.”

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If you need an incentive to stop name-calling in the workplace, consider this: The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a jury award of $70,000 for a supervisor’s repeated and demeaning use of the word “bitch” when speaking to a subordinate.

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has apparently concluded that some professionals are less articulate than others and deserve a pass when they make sexist comments.

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Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation barring employers from requesting job applicants’ or employees’ social media passwords. Dubbed the “Face­­­book Law,” the new law is intended to protect employees’ private communications from the prying eyes of prospective or current bosses.

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Absenteeism is a big problem for many employers. If you suspect that some employees are taking advantage of your leave programs, you can and should come up with a plan to catch them, as one employer recently did.

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Don’t allow racist talk. Even if not di­rected at an employee, it can have a profound effect on her.

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Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Em­­ployee Ben­­­efits Security Administration (EBSA), trustees for the United Em­­ployee Benefit Fund in North­­brook have agreed to correct $1.7 million in improper loans made from the union retirement fund.

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Employees have no more than three years following an alleged FMLA violation to file an FMLA-interference lawsuit. And that’s only if the employer’s violation was “willful.” In most cases, they have just two years to get that lawsuit going.

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Three whistle-blowers will collect more than $650,000 after two different railroads fired them following workplace accidents. OSHA concluded the three men were wrongfully accused of safety violations to divert blame for workplace hazards.

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