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Chicago workplace sexual harassment attorneysMcDonald’s restaurants can be found across the globe. The fast food company is arguably one of the most successful businesses in the history of the world. However, the company has also recently become notorious for the sexual harassment claims made against supervisors and employees. Recently, the CEO and president of McDonald’s was terminated after it was discovered that he had violated company policy through a romantic relationship with an employee. His termination highlights the ever-growing importance of professional boundaries in the workplace and reminds us that sexual harassment is still a major issue in the U.S. and around the world.  

Understanding Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law: hostile environment sexual harassment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when sexual or offensive comments, jokes, or actions make a work environment intolerable. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a superior trades or attempts to trade sexual interactions for work benefits. For example, a shift manager may imply that a worker will get preferential treatment if he or she accepts the manager’s sexual advances. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can also occur when a superior threatens a negative work consequence if the employee does not accept his or her advances.

Some employees may tolerate unacceptable behavior from a superior because they are afraid of being demoted, transferred, receiving a poor performance review, or fired. It is essential that employees understand that they do not have to tolerate unlawful behavior like this at work.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIn the state of Illinois, the legal rights of parents are based upon the recognition of their relationship with their children. For a mother, obviously, the presumption of a legal relationship is usually very simple. For a father, however, it may not be so easy, particularly if he is not married to the mother of the child. While paternity tests and court proceedings may sometimes be required in more complicated situations, such avenues can usually be avoided by means of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or VAP.

VAP Basics

Under Illinois law, a VAP can be used to establish the legal parent-child relationship between a man and his son or daughter. It does not require genetic testing, court adjudication, or any other outside influences. Instead, the VAP is, as its name implies, a voluntary acceptance of parental rights and responsibilities.

To be considered valid, the VAP must be signed or otherwise authenticated by both the mother and the man seeking to establish paternity. It must also specifically reference the child regarding whom the man wishes to establish parental rights. The signing or authentication of the form must also be witnessed. The law in Illinois also requires the VAP to include language that ensures the signing parents understand that the form is the equivalent of courtroom adjudication and that, once signed, it can only be rescinded or challenged in very limited circumstances.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysThe largest restaurant ownership group in the Chicago area has been sued for sexual harassment over the group’s handling of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against a former wine director. According to the lawsuit, a former publicist with the group was assaulted and harassed, then retaliated against when she reported the incident.

The Alleged Incident

Several news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, have covered the emerging situation, which involves the restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE). LEYE owns and operates more than 120 restaurants, most of which are in the greater Chicago area.

The initial incident reportedly took place in November 2018. The plaintiff, a publicist for the company, says that she visited the home of the group’s divisional wine director—a rising-star sommelier who was on track to become a partner with LEYE. In her lawsuit, the woman states that she was the director’s primary publicist and that the two were drinking champagne while discussing work-related projects. They had dinner together, she says, and they went back to his home where she had left her keys.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen you are deeply in love with your spouse, it can be nearly impossible to imagine that your spouse would ever do anything to hurt you, let alone cheat on you. To be fair, episodes of infidelity are rarely the result of a person intentionally looking to cause pain for their spouse or committed romantic partner. In many cases, in fact, unfaithfulness is often the manifestation of much deeper problems in the relationship, including a lack of communication, feelings of isolation, and discontent with one another. Infidelity, however, may be the last straw that leads the offended spouse to file for divorce, often with the expectation that such behavior may afford him or her additional considerations in the divorce process.

Limited Legal Impact

It is completely understandable that a spouse whose partner is guilty of infidelity would feel betrayed and angry and would wish to hold the cheating party accountable for his or her behavior. If you ever found yourself in that type of situation, it would only seem fair for your spouse to be responsible for breaking up your marriage in that way. Unless you and your spouse negotiated an infidelity clause in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, however, you are most likely going to be out of luck, at least as far the law is concerned.

Infidelity, along with all other negative or destructive behaviors like mental or physical cruelty or abandonment, can no longer be used as official grounds for divorce in Illinois. Recent changes to the law provide that all divorces in the state are to be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, regardless of what may have occurred during the marriage. The law also prohibits a divorce judge from considering a spouse’s “misconduct” when dividing marital property or deciding whether to award spousal maintenance (alimony).

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIt has now been about two years since the resurgence of the #MeToo movement began, first with accusations by actress Ashley Judd against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, followed by a Twitter post of support by Alyssa Milano. The #MeToo is a social media “hashtag”—a device intended to track the popularity of a particular topic—that Milano encouraged survivors of sexual assault, rape, and other types of sexual misconduct to use as a show of solidarity with one another.

For many victims, the problem is at work, where managers, co-workers, and even customers behave inappropriately and commit acts of sexual harassment. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, lawmakers in Illinois and around the country have been looking for ways to strengthen laws that combat workplace sexual harassment and to protect those who might otherwise be victimized.

In August of this year, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed The Workplace Transparency Act into law. The new law places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of employers to provide sexual harassment training to all of their employers, among other requirements.

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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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