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Belleville Illinois Legal Blog

Government employers cannot discriminate based on age

It may seem that the longer an Illinois resident stays in the same job, the better they will become at completing their tasks. Through experience and determination a long-term employee may become an asset to their employer as they are able to take on more complex and sensitive tasks due to their knowledge. However, it is an unfortunate truth that some experienced and older employees find themselves on the receiving end of discrimination based on their age. The United States Supreme Court recently addressed an age discrimination issue, though, and came down on the side of workers.

Two firefighters were fired by their employer when budget constraints forced their department to take action. The two firefighters were the most senior members of the department and also the oldest. They filed claims with the EEOC and were allowed to sue in federal court; the district court that heard their matter, however, denied their claims because the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is not supposed to apply to employers who have fewer than 20 workers.

What is a hostile work environment?

Inappropriate behavior in the workplace is often placed on a continuum of badness, where some actions or comments are deemed untimely while others are deemed attacking. When a worker feels harassed by the harasser and a sexually charged environment created by their co-workers then that worker may be a victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is prohibited by federal and Illinois state law and victims of it have rights.

It is important for readers to understand that sexual harassment is not just one action or behavior. It can be perpetrated by men or women against individuals of the same sex or of a different sex. It does not have to be direct comments to a person; offensive posters, pictures, or screen savers may create a hostile work environment and may subject individuals to sexual harassment.

Accidents at construction sites are often fatal

There are inherent and specific risks associated with practically all types of employment, and any job can cause a worker to suffer physical harm. However, Illinois residents who work in the construction industry face a number of serious threats to their health and safety. Though they should be protected from harm when they are on the job, a number of individuals die in construction site accidents each and every year.

One of the most common causes of construction site fatalities is falls. In 2012 more than one out of every three construction site deaths was attributed to falls. Falls at construction sites happen when workers are not properly secured to high sites like scaffolding, or when holes are not properly marked and workers tumble into crevices. Worksite falls at construction sites are not always fatal but can leave victims with life-long injuries.

Holidays are stressful times for dogs

As we rush headlong into the holiday season, it's a good idea to review how we interact with others' pets when we're visiting. Likewise, if you are a pet owner, it's also wise to give special consideration to the arrangements you make for your own pets when guests are in your home.

Holidays are stressful times for humans and canines alike. Many homes have Christmas trees, which must surely confuse our four-legged friends. But that is just the tip of the stress iceberg. The noise and confusion, the unfamiliar guests, the treats that get slyly slipped to them that can cause gastric upset all can contribute to dogs feeling out of sorts and acting out.

Religion is a protected employment class

Religion is a topic that can unite some and drive conflicts between others. Whether an Illinois resident chooses to follow a particular church or faith, or elects to live their life according to secular principles, there is bound to be someone who disagrees with their approach to spiritual living. Under the law men and women in the United States are free to decide what religion, if any, they wish to follow and subsequently they may not be penalized in their jobs for the decisions they make with regard to this important topic.

A person's freedom to choose the religion of their own choice is codified in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a worker's protection to enforce this right in their workplace is included in Title VII to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this law, employers may not treat their employees differently based on their religious beliefs and may not impose work requirements that burden individuals of certain religions.

Can children be liable for their own dog bite injuries?

Many parents take extra precautions when they are out with their small children and see dogs off their leashes. Though some Illinois dog owners take their responsibilities seriously, others fail to properly train and restrain their pets to prevent them from causing harm to others. Children are common victims of dog bites and dog attacks because they are small targets for aggressive animals and are often drawn to the seemingly fun appearance of active animals.

Generally, dog owners are responsible for managing their pets and preventing them from causing injuries to others. However, there is a recognized exception to this rule that can pass blame back to a victim. If a dog bite victim instigates or torments a dog into action, then that victim may not be able to recover for the damages they provoked out of the involved animal.

Racial discrimination still present in American workforce

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s forced Americans to take a hard look at how certain populations were being treated in the nation's plight to secure equality for all. As a result, many pieces of federal legislation were passed in an effort to address previous wrongs and to level the playing field for, among others, women, those over 40, and individuals of color. In Illinois and throughout the nation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided a springboard for many claims of discrimination that were arising from places of employment.

Race was included as one of the protected classes of populations who could seek help through the tenants of Title VII. Under the law, employers were and still are prohibited from using race as a basis for hiring, firing, or disciplining employees. They may not separate employees based on their race and may not offer employees of particular races less in the form of compensation or benefits because of their status in a protected class.

Proving negligence to prevail on a personal injury claim

Negligence happens more often than individuals may want to admit. It happens when a driver chooses to look at their cell phone instead of the road in front of them. It can happen when an Illinois store employee ignores a wet patch of flooring and chooses not to clean it up. It occurs when a doctor fails to review all of a patient's symptoms and makes a diagnosis based on incomplete information.

In some situations, these acts of negligence may not cause any harm. The driver may look up from their phone and continue on their way without causing a damaging accident. Patrons of the store with the wet floor may avoid the slippery surface and the doctor's diagnosis may end up being correct despite their truncated review.

When good doctors make medical mistakes

When most people think of medical malpractice cases that are prosecuted, they tend to think of egregious errors made by clearly negligent practitioners. However, it's important to understand that often medical errors are committed by highly regarded physicians who would not normally be characterized as negligent practitioners.

One infectious disease specialist detailed a mistake he made many years ago as a practicing physician that still haunts him today. He feels that it is important to remember his mistake in order to never repeat it.

Walmart accused of pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy is often an exciting if not nerve-wracking time in the life of a prospective mother. While she works to prepare her home to bring in her new bundle of joy, she may look for ways to reduce her extra stresses in other arenas of life. Particularly, a prospective Illinois mother may look for legally permissible ways to reduce the strain that her job puts on her changing body.

Under federal anti-discrimination laws, workers who require reasonable accommodations to do their jobs can request lightened workloads from their employers. A lightened workload may allow a person with a health condition like pregnancy to continue to do their job and earn the living they need to get by.

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