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dupage county sexual harassment lawyerAlthough sexual harassment is prohibited by state and federal law, workplace harassment and discrimination continue to be problems in Illinois. Unfortunately, many employees who are harassed at work never report the inappropriate and unlawful behavior. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you may be unsure whether you should say anything about the harassment. Perhaps you are the type of person who tries to avoid conflict and “get along” with everyone at work. You may even assume that reporting the harassment will only cause greater problems. However, staying silent about workplace sexual harassment is never the answer.  

Harassment Rarely Goes Away on Its Own

Unfortunately, sexual harassment tends to escalate if it is not appropriately addressed. If an employee gets away with making crude jokes at another employee’s expense, he or she may make increasingly disparaging remarks. If a supervisor convinces an employee to go out on a date with him or her by implying that the employee will get a favorable performance review, the supervisor may escalate the behavior into inappropriate physical touch. Ignoring inappropriate or harassing behavior only shows the harasser that you are willing to tolerate being mistreated. The harasser may also be emboldened to act inappropriately toward other employees.  

The Law Protects You from Retaliation

If you are like most people, you may worry that filing a sexual harassment complaint will get you fired. Fortunately, the law specifically prohibits retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment. Retaliation may take the form of poor performance evaluations, reduced work hours, being assigned an undesirable work schedule or work assignments, demotion, or termination. If you were retaliated against after complaining about sexual harassment at work, speak to a sexual harassment lawyer right away.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysGetting divorced can significantly change your financial situation. This is especially true for disabled spouses, homemakers, and stay-at-home parents. Alimony, also known as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois law, is financial support that a spouse provides the other spouse during or after divorce. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is essential to know how and when spousal maintenance is awarded.

Why Spousal Maintenance is Awarded in Illinois

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to minimize the negative financial impact a divorce has on a spouse who is unable to support themselves without assistance. A divorcing spouse may also be entitled to spousal maintenance through an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Spouses may also request spousal maintenance from the court. When deciding whether to award spousal support, Illinois judges consider the spouses’ financial and employment circumstances as well as factors such as:

  • The spouses’ future earning capabilities
  • Each party’s financial needs
  • How long it will take for the spouse requesting alimony to become financially self-supporting
  • The length of the marriage and the standard of living in the marriage
  • Whether a spouse contributed to the advancement of the other spouse’s education and career

The Amount That a Spouse Receives in Alimony  

If the court determines that a spouse is entitled to alimony based on the factors listed above, the next step is to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments. Sometimes, spouses can agree on a spousal maintenance arrangement. Collaborative law and mediation are methods of dispute resolution that may help a divorcing couple avoid litigation and reach an agreement. In other cases, the court determines maintenance payments using a statutory formula. The court may deviate from this formula if the spouses’ combined yearly net income is greater than $500,000 or if the circumstances necessitate deviation.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several other federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment falls under this category of workplace discrimination. There are two main types of sexual harassment addressed by federal law: hostile work environment harassment and “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. Understanding exactly how and when quid pro quo occurs can be difficult—especially when sexual advances are subtle or passed off as a “joke.”

What Does “Quid Pro Quo” Mean?

The phrase quid pro quo means “something for something” in Latin. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer, manager, supervisor, or another person in an authoritative position uses or attempts to use his or her authority to gain a sexual benefit. The most common example of quid pro quo sexual harassment involves a boss or authority figure offering to give an employee a promotion in exchange for sexual contact. The person of authority may also state that the employee will face a negative work consequence such as a poor performance evaluation or reduced work hours if he or she denies a sexual request. While this overt type of harassment does occur, quid pro quo harassment is often much more subtle. The perpetrator may imply or “joke” that it would be in the employee’s best interest to accept his or her advances. This is still sexual harassment.

Victims of quid pro quo harassment may be male or female. The perpetrators of this type of harassment may also be male or female. Harassment may occur between individuals of the opposite sex or the same sex.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysSometimes, what starts as a loving and enjoyable relationship devolves into a relationship that you barely recognize. Years of hurt feelings and things left unsaid can create an atmosphere of resentment and hostility. Communicating and working through issues as a team becomes impossible. You constantly catch your spouse in lies and struggle to believe anything he or she says. If this sounds familiar to you, you may be involved in a toxic relationship. Getting a divorce when you have a toxic relationship with your spouse is no easy feat.

Protect Yourself from Harassment and Abuse

Sometimes, a toxic relationship becomes an abusive relationship. If you have been subjected to physical, emotional, or psychological abuse, stalking behaviors, or financial exploitation, the time to act is now. Abusive treatment rarely deescalates over time and often worsens when the abusive person feels he or she is losing control. Remember, abuse does not only involve physical harm. Abuse is defined by Illinois law as harassment, interference with personal liberty, intimidation, and willful deprivation as well as physical abuse. An Emergency Order of Protection can require your spouse to move out of your home, give you temporary custody of children, stay a certain distance away from you and your workplace, and more.

Gather Important Documents

Sometimes, a toxic spouse will actively hide important documents to make it harder for you to leave him or her. Make sure you have your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, social security card, and other key items. Make copies of financial documents like tax returns, bank statements, mortgage documents, credit card statements, and other financial data. These items will be extremely useful if your spouse tries to hide assets or lie about finances during your divorce.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysRemote and work-from-home jobs are more popular than ever. Many employees are still working from home due to COVID-19, while other employees are continuing with remote work even after stay-at-home orders have terminated because it allows for greater flexibility. Unfortunately, working from home does not completely eliminate the risk of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. If you are a remote or work-from-home employee, it is important to understand your right to be free from sexual harassment and what to do if that right has been violated.

Understanding the Law Regarding Hostile Work Environment Harassment

The two types of sexual harassment specifically prohibited by federal law include “quid pro quo” harassment and “hostile work environment” harassment. Quid pro quo refers to a superior using his or her authority in an attempt to gain some type of romantic or sexual benefit. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an employee’s job is interfered with due to inappropriate or demeaning sexual or gender-based comments or behavior.

A solitary inappropriate remark does not typically fall under the category of hostile work environment harassment. In order to constitute sexual harassment per federal law, offenses must be “severe” or “pervasive.” Sexual assault would be an example of a severe offense that only needs to occur once to violate sexual harassment laws. Offensive comments or jokes become sexual harassment when they are repeated day after day to a point that they interfere with work. Even if you are not sure that offensive behavior counts as sexual harassment, it is important to report the situation to the designated supervisor or manager.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree