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Questions Answered by Cynthia Pietrucha
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: Have my employment rights been violated?

I was unofficially fired, now being forced to beg supervisor to keep my job. Fired for leaving during my shift. I left because I was suffering from injuries obtained that same morning from a DV attack at home. I was only recently informed of VESSA. I do not believe my employer has any posting for... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Feb 22, 2024

Based on the details provided, it appears that your employment rights may have been violated under the Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA). VESSA provides certain rights to employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence, or who have family or household members... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: I was hired fully remote that is on my signed agreement. The company now built a new building and wants me to come in.

Do I have a legal stand point? What should I do?

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jan 22, 2024

Your situation may indeed involve a potential breach of contract, depending on the specific terms outlined in your signed employment agreement. If your contract explicitly states that your position is fully remote, the company's request for you to work in-person at a new building could be a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Public Benefits for Illinois on
Q: I’m having a baby in May & I'm wondering if I can collect unemployment while on maternity leave/medical leave.
Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jan 12, 2024

In Illinois, as in many states, unemployment benefits are typically available to individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to work. To collect unemployment benefits, claimants must also be actively seeking employment.

Maternity leave,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Education Law, Employment Law and Contracts for Illinois on
Q: I work in Cook county as a secondary teacher for a private school and want to break my contract.

I have health issues and was not informed that I would be teaching in a building with poor HVAC. Most days of the week I experience headaches and spend most of my free time recuperating. My contract requires a 3 month notice. I am looking for a position outside of teaching with a better work... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jan 3, 2024

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. If you have a diagnosis from a doctor indicating a disability that contributes to your headaches, it's advisable to explore reasonable accommodation options with your employer. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: I received a "severance" offer after being terminated can I accept this severence and still collect unemployment?

Severence contains legalese so hard to see if they mention collecting unemployment as well. Can they legally say that I won't file if I sign this document? If they don't respond to IDES phone calls, will I not be able to get it? I know from past experience with other terminated employees... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Nov 21, 2023

Severance Pay and Illinois Unemployment Benefits

In most states, an employee can collect unemployment benefits only if it’s the employer’s fault you lost your job. For example, if your company can’t afford to pay you anymore or doesn’t like how you perform your job, the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: In IL, former employee was paid bonus but should not have been. Identified a month ago. Employee quit but owes money;

Can employer withhold final pay and accrued PTO to get some of the money back?

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Oct 27, 2023

Refer to IDOL's Deductions From Pay FAQ

https://labor.illinois.gov/faqs/deductions-from-pay-faq.html

FAQ #6 states:

6. Can an employer make deductions from my pay for overpayments made to me?

When an employee agrees an overpayment has been made the entire sum...
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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: At my work the boss installed a camera with audio recording I live in Illinois

Not one of the workers in the office new about this. He went as far as to tape over the lights so you could not see them. When confronted about this he said he did not know where it came from. He said maybe the fire department snuck across while we were gone and installed it. He later admitted he... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jul 28, 2023

My answer - NOT legal advice: This answer might surprise you, but this is okay to do in Illinois. In one of my Illinois jobs, I found out my boss was secretly listening to my telephone calls. Shady but not illegal. Telephone and video monitoring (and email monitoring) in Illinois workplaces is... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Texas on
Q: My former employer in wisconsin is suing me. I live in another state now. Can they still sue me in wisconsin?

The money is from a relocation bonus. They lied about the job and benefits.

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jul 7, 2023

Yes it is possible for an employer to sue you in a state you do not reside in. Sometimes an agreement you signed with the employer will indicate what courthouse/the location where the employer can sue you. You will need to find an attorney who practices law in Wisconsin and can advise you on your... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: Is it hard to win a wrongful termination case?

Quick run down, I have been working for the company for over 20 years I am 65 years old . I received a letter that I was terminated with no explantion as of why I was terminated. I have an idea its based off my age and my seniority with the company. I feel like they terminating me because of my age... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Jun 2, 2023

I'm sorry to hear you lost your job after such long tenure. The honest answer is Yes it's hard to win a wrongful termination case, and if you sue, it could take years for a resolution. The burden of proof is on you to show direct and indirect evidence that your age was the factor that... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: My son is not renewing a lease. The roommate is renewing but refuses to pay my son his rightful half of the deposit.

My son is renting an apartment with one roommate. The lease they both signed includes a $995 deposit which they each paid half $477.50. The lease ends May 31, 2023. My son is going to move out May 31. His roommate has decided to stay in the apartment and resign the lease with my sons name deleted... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on May 31, 2023

Sorry to hear about your son's situation. Consulting an attorney on this may not be worth the money unless your son wants to prove a point or he can find a low flat rate for the legal work.

Your son should consider the following:

(1) Review the lease and document: Carefully...
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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: Can I sue for wrongful termination and/or pain and suffering?

I was discharged March 1, 2023. I applied for and was denied unemployment because I was fired for my conduct. I appealed and went (via webex) in front of an Administrative Law Judge. She sided with me. And in her opinion I was mailed it seems to me she doesn’t believe I should’ve been... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on May 31, 2023

Sorry to hear you lost your job and had to fight the employer over unemployment benefits. You should consult with an Illinois attorney to better understand your options, and make sure you lean on your union to help you. In Illinois, unemployment decisions are not admissible as evidence in court.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: If my worplace doesnt have an attendance policy or point system would it be wrongful termination if they fire me?

This is in illinois

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on May 23, 2023

In Illinois, employment relationships are generally considered to be "at-will", which means that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, as long as it is not unlawful. There are certain exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, but you must have the facts to support... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Construction Law and Employment Discrimination for Montana on
Q: Is it legal for a construction company to not hire any female laborers?

I inquired about applying at a local construction company. I have worked construction before and have good references. I asked about wage match, healthcare, and advancement, on the public ad the company posted. The owner messaged me privately on his personal account responding to my public comment.... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on May 8, 2023

You should check with an employment lawyer in your state to verify your legal options. However, please be advised that if you believe you were denied work based on your gender and your employer meets the minimum employee count requirements, under federal law - the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: Hello I have a problem with my employer and the state of Illinois unemployment office trying to draw my benefits

But I live in Tennessee but my employer is in Gurnee Illinois

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on May 1, 2023

If you're looking for free legal help with your Illinois unemployment benefits, the IDES does offer free attorneys on a case-by-case basis.

As of 5/1/2023, here is what IDES says to do to inquire about free unemployment representation:

As a claimant, which of the two...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: My company has overpaid me and others. This over payment went on for at least six months. Do we have to pay that back?

The overpayments ranged from 3,000 to 18,000 dollars, the error was on the fault of the HR department and the company not having an updated budget report.

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Mar 30, 2023

This situation should be governed by the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

"When an employee agrees an overpayment has been made the entire sum may be deducted on the employee's first regular payday subsequent to the payday on which the overpayment occurred. If an...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Texas on
Q: EEOC says I have a solid case with concrete evidence. Should I get a lawyer?

I received an email of me being terminated from my employer due to being pregnant. I filed a charge with EEOC.

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Mar 8, 2023

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Whether you should get a lawyer depends on your goals with the EEOC Charge of Discrimination (settlement, mediation, litigation) and your damages from the experience. A lawyer will bring the expertise, advocacy and stress relief you may need during... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Contracts for Illinois on
Q: My former employer signed a written agreement not to continue giving me a bad reference. Is this agreement legal?

I had a lawyer for a reference checking company handle the situation. The lawyer sent the employer a Cease and Desist letter. The company agreed to only provide date of hire, departure, and title of position. The employer sent the lawyer a signed agreement - to avoid getting sued for giving... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Mar 2, 2023

Based on the information provided, it appears you have a breach of contract case. If the relevant deadlines for acting on such a claim have not passed, you can sue the employer for breach of contract.

However, it does not appear you'd have a separate action for the cease and...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: I was terminated from my job and my employer discussed my termination with my coworkers, is this legal?
Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Mar 1, 2023

I'm sorry about your job termination. It's not necessarily illegal for an employer to discuss your termination with coworkers. However, it depends on what was said and who discussed the termination. How do you know your termination was discussed with co-workers? Did the discussion... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Cannabis & Marijuana Law, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: I am being denied employment by a company in chicago because I had marijuana in my drug test. Is this legal? If not what

What are my options?

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Feb 24, 2023

Based on the information you've provided, it appears the company's refusal to hire you based on a failed drug test for marijuana does not appear to be illegal. It's really unfair as cannabis metabolites can be detected in urine even 30 days after someone ingests the drug, making it... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: Harassment at work has been reported and nothing done

I work for the state of illinois. A coworker has harassed me several times recently. I’ve reported it in writing to my supervisor. I’ve sent him the email of the harassment and nothing is done. I’ve also been written up for saying “I’m not a fan of him” when referring to the person... View More

Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
answered on Feb 6, 2023

I'm sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Not all "harassment" is illegal - or in other words being a jerk/rude is not enough to create legal claim. Instead the harassment must be based on a protected class characteristic like race, age, gender, etc. or retaliation because... View More

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