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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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DuPage County child support lawyersWhen a couple has a child together – be they married or not – both parents are legally obligated to provide financial support. Child support orders are the legal manifestation of that obligation, and they outline how much should be paid (generally on a monthly basis). Yet, often, these orders are set up when a child is young, or when a couple first divorces. What happens when life circumstances change?

When the Needs of a Child Have Changed

Children are constantly growing, changing, and evolving. It only makes sense that their needs change, too. Yet not all changes constitute a basis for a modification to a child support order. Generally, the shift in needs must be fairly significant. For example, if a child is accepted to an elite educational program, the receiving parent may seek a modification to help cover the tuition. Likewise, if a child is diagnosed with a medical condition or illness and needs extensive medical treatment, a modification may be requested..

When a Supporting Parent's Circumstances Have Changed

Supporting parents are not immune to significant life changes. They may become disabled because of an accident or an illness, be laid off of work, lose their business, or suffer some other ill fate that negatively affects their income. If significant enough to impede their ability to pay the ordered child support amount, supporting parents should seek modification. It is critical that the parent do this at the very first sign of trouble since failure to pay may result in serious consequences, including jail time.

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Illinois sexual harassment lawyersIf you look at Google Trends to see the recent history of the term “sexual harassment,” you can see that this phrase started being searched at a much higher rate about three and half years ago. This is no coincidence. October of 2017 marked the beginning of what has become a revolution against sexual harassment in the workplace. Before the end of that month, over eighty women had made accusations of sexual harassment against media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Allegations against other high-profile individuals quickly followed. Since then, many more women who had silently endured sexual harassment have come forward to report the behavior. Throughout this increased media attention, there has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation about terms like sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a term that is frequently misused. Many people use this phrase to mean undesired sexual attention, and while that can be part of sexual harassment, it is by far not the full definition. From a legal perspective, sexual harassment can only exist in the workplace. So, while the construction worker who catcalls women walking past a construction site is inappropriate and annoying, he or she is not engaging in unlawful sexual harassment.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 led to the current laws regarding sexual harassment. The act prohibits employment discrimination based on ethnicity, sex, color, national origin, or religion. Workplace sexual harassment is considered a type of sex discrimination. There are only two types of sexual harassment according to the law: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile workplace sexual harassment. The former includes instances where a person in authority requires a subordinate to perform sexual favors in order to keep his or her job or to get a promotion or other workplace perks. Hostile workplace sexual harassment occurs when a colleague’s behavior is so offensive or intimidating that a reasonable person would be unable to perform his or her work duties. Suggestive or sexual remarks, sexual jokes, and placing pornographic material in view of coworkers are examples of behavior that can create a hostile workplace.

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Wheaton IL divorce attorneysOver the last 25 years or so, divorce rates have more than doubled for those aged 50 and over. Thought to be due, at least in part, to an increase in life expectancy, these later-life divorces have some unique considerations and risks. So, if you or someone you know is planning on filing for what the media is calling a “gray divorce,” it is important to know how to best protect oneself and financial future.

Understanding the Risks of Gray Divorce

While all divorces are considered financially, mentally, and emotionally complex, those that occur later in life carry some serious financial risks, namely a situation known as divorce-induced poverty. This is a risk of particular concern for those who have already retired or have been out of the workforce for a long period of time. In addition, women, who typically live longer than men, may experience long-lasting poverty if they do not take proper precautions during their divorce.

Preparing Your Finances

In Illinois, marital property goes into what is known as the marital estate. This includes assets like your home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vacation homes, vehicles, and more. These items are then valued and distributed equitably among the divorcing parties. Of course, before this can happen, you will need to know what it is that you and your spouse own. For those kept in the dark about their finances, this can seem like an insurmountable task. Furthermore, there is always the risk of disappearing assets. Rest assured: your attorney can help with the process. For now, simply gather all of the financial information you can find.

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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyersOver the last few years, stories about allegations of sexual harassment seem to constantly be in the news. The most recent reports involving high-profile personalities accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with non-consenting individuals include allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, college football coach Les Miles, and fashion designer Alexander Wang.  The silver lining of these disturbing allegations is that the once-taboo subject of sexual harassment is now being talked about and considered more seriously.

Disturbing Numbers

Unfortunately, however, many reports of sexual harassment do not result in any legal action. In fact, of all the reports of workplace sexual harassment, only an estimated 3 percent to 6 percent of the cases ever make it to trial. Compare this statistic to the percentage of women who report they have been sexually harassed at some point in their lives—which is almost 50 percent—and the problem becomes very apparent.

Although almost half of all women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, only about 5-15 percent of these women report the harassment. Most do not report the inappropriate behavior to their employer because they fear that their employer, boss, or other employees will somehow retaliate. Many victims of sexual harassment also do not make a report because they assume that nothing will come of it. So many cases are dismissed that it discourages other victims from coming forward.

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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