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Illinois workplace sexual harassment lawyerOver the last year, national news headlines have been dominated by one story after the next about allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other types of inappropriate sexual behavior. While they have different names depending on the jurisdiction, sexual assault and other types of unwelcome sexual contact are criminal acts. Sexual harassment, however, is a different story. By law, sexual harassment is a form of sex-based employment discrimination. While it is still illegal, it is a matter that is handled through state and federal agencies, as well as the civil court system.

Because it is an employment-related matter, sexual harassment is also somewhat easier to recognize and address than acts of sexual violence often are. Sexual harassment can even be prevented and avoided if those who work together are willing to have open and honest conversations about the topic. Depending on where you work, management may be willing to facilitate such discussion. If a formal meeting is not feasible, consider opening lines of communication with your coworkers on your own—regardless of your gender or your previous experience with sexual harassment.

Men and Women Must Communicate

In many cases, sexual harassment is the manifestation of a power struggle. For example, men who have worked with only other men for many years may feel threatened—even subconsciously—by the introduction of a female coworker. Similarly, a person in a managerial position may get a thrill out of flirting or making sexual advances toward a subordinate as a result of the power differential. However, sexual harassment can also occur due to the differences in the perspectives of men and women.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you and your spouse are considering calling it quits, you probably have a thousand questions. One of these questions may be, “How will we divide our property during the divorce?” When two people marry, they not only combine their lives but also their material possessions and wealth. Sometimes untangling marital assets can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. However, being educated about what the property division process entails can help you be better prepared and eliminate some of the stress associated with the divorce process.

Separate Property Versus Marital Property

If divorcing couples can, they may decide how to divide their property on their own without court intervention. However, when couples cannot agree on how to divide assets, the court must step in. Illinois divides property based on a system called “equitable distribution.” First, it is determined what property is marital (shared) and what property is non-marital or separate. Generally, marital property includes any assets or funds acquired during the marriage. Non-marital property includes property which a spouse acquired before getting married, as well as certain gifts and inheritances. The court will only divide marital property or those assets which have been commingled.

It is important to note that separate property can become marital property in certain situations. For example, if a husband receives a cash inheritance, it is considered separate property. However, if he deposits the inheritance into a joint bank account with his spouse or uses it for family expenses, the property may be considered to be transmuted into marital property.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysTwo technology industry giants have recently made dramatic changes to their sexual harassment policies. Prior to this change, both Google and Facebook required employees to settle sexual harassment claims only through private arbitration. However, Google and Facebook employees will now be able to pursue sexual harassment claims in court.

Google’s announcement that they were changing this policy came after nearly 20,000 employees staged a walkout to protest the way the company manages sexual harassment allegations. Facebook made the change just one day after Google’s announcement. The new sexual harassment policies adopted by Facebook and Google will apply only to sexual harassment or assault claims. The policy does not apply to other types of discrimination complaints. 

Many Believe Forced Arbitration is Unconstitutional

Forced arbitration occurs when employees are required to sign documents in which they agree to settle legal disputes out of court. Instead of having their cases heard by a judge, an arbitrator decides the outcome of the case. Of course, citizens always have the right to arbitrate instead of going to trial. The issue arises when arbitrators are biased or companies choose arbitrators who rarely rule in favor of staff members. Although employees obviously have the option to not work for companies with forced arbitration requirements, many say that the practice is unconstitutional.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are a stay-at-home parent on the verge of divorce, your life is likely to change dramatically. The very nature of a stay-at-home mom or dad—as opposed to a parent who works from home—means that he or she relies on his or her spouse to provide financially for the family. In the wake of divorce, a stay-at-home parent could be at a very serious disadvantage. Fortunately, such parents often have a number of options available to help offset some of the financial effects of a divorce, and a seasoned family law attorney can assist you in exploring them all.

Spousal Support

Maintenance—also called alimony—is one of the most common tools that the courts use to help stay-at-home parents following a divorce. According to Illinois law, the court has the authority to order maintenance if either spouse has a legitimate need. The court must consider a number of factors in determining such a need, and your stay-at-home parent status is certainly one of them, but that alone is not necessarily enough to justify an award.

The court must take the entirety of your situation into account, including concerns such as:

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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyers Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based employment discrimination prohibited by several state and federal laws. Employers cannot treat employees differently or give them different opportunities simply on the basis of sex alone.

The two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law are “quid pro quo” harassment and “hostile environment” harassment. The first happens when a superior or other person of authority attempts to garner sexual favors from employees in exchange for work benefits or promotions. An employer threatening to fire an employee who refuses his or her sexual advances is also committing quid pro quo harassment. Hostile environment harassment can include persistent comments, jokes, or physical contact which leaves an employee so disturbed, he or she is unable to do his or her job. If you have been sexually harassed, one of the most important steps you will need to take in order to bring your harasser to justice is to keep a sexual harassment log.

Your Sexual Harassment Log Can Be the Key to Proving Sexual Harassment Occurred

In previous articles, we have discussed the procedure for reporting workplace sexual harassment. Staying silent about harassment only gives the harasser more power to abuse other innocent people. One of the most powerful tools you have as an individual fighting against workplace sexual harassment is documentation. Almost all sexual harassment lawsuits depend on the victim’s ability to prove that the harassing behavior occurred. In addition to keeping copies of emails, text messages, and instant messages containing harassing language, victims of sexual harassment should also keep written notes about inappropriate or harassing behavior. These notes will be invaluable to you and your attorney if your sexual harassment case goes to trial.

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St. Charles, IL 60174
630-665-7300
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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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