All posts by Navigant Law Group, LLC

NEW ILLINOIS LAWS AFFECTING ILLINOIS EMPLOYERS IN 2014

While the New Year brings many new laws of which you should be aware, there are particular laws effective January 1, 2014 instituted by the Illinois legislature of which business owners should be particularly aware. Below is a brief summary of one of the laws that may affect Illinois business owners and employers.

 

Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (“Right to Privacy Act”)

 

Effective January 1, 2014, a new law passed by Illinois’ legislature amends the Right to Privacy Act by narrowing social media privacy law and further clarifying which social media accounts are subject to the Right to Privacy Act (the Right to Privacy Act prohibits employers from inquiring about certain information of employees or prospective employees, including passwords to social media accounts). The amendment clarifies that the Right to Privacy Act only applies to personal accounts used exclusively for personal communications that are not related to the employer’s business purposes. This specifically excludes professional accounts or services provided by the employer or that are used for business and work-related purposes.

 

The amended law further provides that where an employer seeks a password, account information or access related to a professional account, and not a personal account, an employer is not restricted from complying with its duty to screen employees or applicants prior to hiring. However, this exception would likely only apply to existing employees, as prospective employees would not have professional accounts to which an employer could request access. The exception also allows employers to seek access to a professional account to monitor or retain employee communications as required under Illinois insurance laws, federal law, or by a self-regulatory organization as defined by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

The Right to Privacy Act defines “professional account” as an account, service, or profile created, maintained, used, or accessed by a current or prospective employee for business purposes of the employer, and defines “personal account” as an account, service, or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purposes of the employer.

This is only a brief summary of the new law which amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace and how it may affect Illinois businesses. There are numerous other amendments and new laws which have taken effect as of January 1, 2014.

Should you have any questions about this amendment to the Right to Privacy in the Workplace or any other law that may affect the operation of your business, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

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NEW ILLINOIS LAWS AFFECTING ILLINOIS EMPLOYERS IN 2014

New Illinois Laws Affecting Illinois Employers in 2014 While the New Year brings many new laws of which you should be aware, there are particular laws effective January 1, 2014 instituted by the Illinois legislature of which business owners should be particularly aware. Below is a brief summary of one of the new laws that may affect Illinois business owners and employers. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (“Compassionate Use Act”) The Compassionate Use Act went into effect January 1, 2014 and authorized a four-year pilot program for dispensing and using medicinal marijuana in Illinois. Patients possessing a physician’s recommendation, suffering from one of the listed “debilitating medical conditions” (such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV and Parkinson’s, to name a few) and not having a felony drug conviction may participate in the program. The Compassionate Use Act provides that individuals with “debilitating medical conditions” that register with the Illinois Department of Public Health may obtain access to medical marijuana. While the Compassionate Use Act is a comprehensive and extensive statute, certain components are particularly relevant to Illinois businesses. The Compassionate Use Act provides that an employer may not discriminate against an individual in its drug policies “solely for his or her status as a registered qualifying patient.” The law further states that an employer may not penalize an individual (which might include refusing to hire, terminating or taking adverse action against) because that individual has access to medical marijuana. The law does provide an exception that allows the employer to take action if “failing to do so would put the…employer… in violation of federal law or…failing to do so would cause it to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or rules.” Although the Compassionate Use Act allows employees access to medical marijuana, use of medical marijuana is not without its limitations. The law states that an employer will not be liable if such employer terminates or disciplines an employee based upon the employer’s good faith belief that the employee used or possessed marijuana on the employer’s premises and/or was impaired while working on the employer’s premises. Employers may continue to enforce drug testing, zero-tolerance and drug-free workplace policies and may discipline a registered qualifying patient for violating a workplace drug policy provided that such policy is applied in a non-discriminatory manner. This is only a brief summary of certain provisions of the Compassionate Use Act and how it may affect Illinois businesses. There are numerous other amendments and new laws which have taken effect as of January 1, 2014.

Should you have any questions about Compassionate Use Act or any other law that may affect the operation of your business, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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ILLINOIS CELL PHONE BAN IN EFFECT- JANUARY 1!

Illinois has joined several other states in enacting a new cellphone law that does not allow handheld phones while driving. Fines will range from $75 for first offense and up. Most area police departments have stressed that this law is not going to be used to “get” people but rather to keep streets safer. Be mindful that while many violators of this new law will be issued warnings in January until drivers become familiar with the law, that doesn’t mean that tickets won’t be issued. Also, just like with seat belt laws and registration laws, it is a reason police can pull drivers over. This means that if you are driving without insurance, without a license, with an outstanding warrant or committing any other offense, police can and will pull you over for using a handheld phone while driving which will lead to your arrest if you are committing another criminal offense at the same time.
So what does this law mean for drivers?

  • You can wear a hands-free or voice-operated headset like a Bluetooth but you must have one ear free of any device.
  • You cannot dial your cellphone while driving, even if it is just for a quick second to call someone before putting on speaker. If you are holding and manipulating a device for any reason, you are in violation.
  • You can press a single button to start or end a call as long as long as your conversation is not handheld.
  • You can use your handheld phone to call 911 but be sure if that is your defense the officer will want to verify that by looking at your phone.
  • Having a cell phone that does not have speaker capabilities is not a valid defense.
  • Passengers in the vehicle can use a handheld phone or device without restrictions unless it is interfering with the driver.

If you have questions about this or any other legal matter, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

NICHOLE M. WALTZ, NAMED ONE OF 2014’s TOP 40 UNDER 40 FAMILY LAW PRACTITIONERS

Congratulations to Nichole M. Waltz, named one of 2014’s Top 40 Under 40 Family Law Practitioners by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA), is an invitation-only, nationwide organization of elite lawyers in practice today. ASLA’s recognize exceptional legal talent and early promise among the next generation of great lawyers.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

COOK COUNTY COURTHOUSE TO CHARGE FOR PUBLIC PARKING

In another attempt to collect revenue, starting in 2014 visits to any of the Cook County Courthouses will no longer be free….parking lots at all the suburban courthouses and 26th and California will now require a fee to park even for jurors and witnesses. It does not appear any of these parking fees will be reimbursed for people summoned to be at the courthouse and certainly for people conducting any other business there they will have to pay. The parking lots and structures are already being equipped with gates and machinery to collect these fees so enjoy the last couple months of free parking…

 

 

Should you have any questions about this, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.