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Category Archives: DuPage County Blog

Chicago sexual harassment lawyerYou probably hear the words “sexual harassment” more often today than you have in decades. The recent outpouring of activism and support for victims of sexual harassment has been deeply meaningful to millions. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of confusion surrounding sexual harassment law and what behavior is considered sexual harassment. The following are the most common misconceptions about sexual harassment.

Myth 1: Sexual Harassment is Synonymous with Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Abuse

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what different sex crimes are called. This is partially due to some phrases being used casually and partially due to variances between different states’ terminology. Sexual harassment, as it pertains to the law, can only happen in a work or school environment. A construction worker who catcalls a passerby may be acting in an unacceptable way, but this is not technically sexual harassment.

Myth 2: Only Women Are Victims of Sexual Harassment

Recently, singer Mariah Carey settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with her former manager, who is also a woman. The former manager alleged that Carey was often nude around her and that she felt uncomfortable. This is just one of many sexual lawsuits brought against women every year. Both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment.

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DuPage County legal separation lawyersIf you are considering splitting up with your spouse in Illinois, you have several paths for doing so. Most couples end their marriage through divorce, but a legal separation is another option married couples have. Separation differs significantly from divorce, mainly in that separation is not designed to be permanent. Married couples seeking a divorce in Illinois are not required to be legally separated before getting divorced, but some couples choose to pursue a legal separation for other reasons.

Benefits of Legal Separation

Legal separation is a milder option than divorce. There are only a few reasons a couple may pursue a legal separation. Being legally separated can provide couples time apart before they make a final decision about whether or not to actually get divorced. Some people get a legal separation for religious or cultural reasons. Furthermore, separation can be a useful legal tool for individuals with complicated financial situations such as business owners or venture capitalists. When a couple is legally separated, the wealth and property they accumulate during this time is not considered marital property. If you believe your divorce may be extensive, a separation can protect you and your assets during the process.

Unlike in a divorce, the court does not have the authority to divide property of a legally separated couple. If the couple reaches a property settlement on their own, the court may include that agreement in the Judgment of Separation. There is no requirement to divide property when pursuing a legal separation.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIf you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, you may have the opportunity to receive compensation for damages. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by both federal law as well as Illinois state law. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unsolicited sexual advances, antagonistic behavior, or disparaging remarks about his or her gender which negatively affect the employee’s ability to do his or her job. Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to instances when a person of authority such as a boss or manager attempts to use his or her authority to gain sexual favors from subordinates. For some victims of workplace sexual harassment, filing a discrimination claim allows them to hold their employer accountable for wrongdoing and receive compensation for damages.

Types of Damages Available for Financial Compensation

In the context of an employment discrimination claim, the term “damages” refers to harm caused by the discriminating or harassing behavior. The amount of compensation a claimant can be awarded for sexual harassment is dependent on the damages he or she incurred. Damages in a sexual harassment claim most often include compensation for lost wages and missed career opportunities. Sometimes, compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, called compensatory damages, is awarded as well. Punitive damages are the least common type of damages addressed in sexual harassment claims and are designed to “punish” the employer for failing to address severe harassment or discrimination.

You May Be Entitled to Back Pay

Sexual harassment is not only humiliating and demeaning but it can also leave victims in financial distress. Victims of sexual harassment who were given fewer hours, paid less, denied a raise or promotion, or were fired as a result of sexual harassment, are often entitled to back pay. Back pay refers to the benefits an employee would have received if not for the sexual harassment. Back pay generally includes compensation for:

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DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may be concerned about the financial implications of such a decision. The process itself can be very expensive is some situations, but you could also be worried about making it on your own, especially if your spouse was the primary wage-earner in your family. To address this concern, you may consider including a request for maintenance with your divorce filing. Maintenance payments, sometimes known as alimony, may be ordered to help offset some of the economic challenges that can be created by your divorce. Such payments are not guaranteed, however, and the court must identify a spouse’s need before ordering it.

Need-Based Considerations

There are many factors that the court will take into account when deciding on the appropriateness of a maintenance order, including the lifestyle that the couple established in their marriage and how the marital property will be or has been divided in the divorce. As you might expect, each spouse’s income must also be considered, but the court will look at more than just how much you and your spouse actually earn. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that the court must also take into account “the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.”

What Is Earning Capacity and Why Does It Matter?

A person’s earning capacity is the amount of income that he or she has the ability, training, certification, and qualifications to make, regardless of his or her current income. For example, a 19-year-old high school dropout who has been working in fast food restaurants has a much lower earning capacity than a 40-year-old business executive with a master’s degree. Earning capacity may become an issue in a maintenance proceeding, however, when one or both spouses are currently earning significantly more or less than their earning capacity would suggest.

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Wheaton sexual harassment attorneysThe atmosphere in workplaces across the United States has been altered by the influx of sexual harassment accusations in the news. Amid the #MeToo movement, many business owners are eliminating holiday parties. Others are keeping the holiday office party but are not allowing alcohol to be consumed. Opinions about this vary dramatically from person to person, but one thing we can all agree on is that every employee deserves to be treated with respect at their workplace.

Inappropriate Behavior at Office Parties is Not a New Phenomenon

Countless sitcom episodes have relied on holiday office party shenanigans to drive the plot. The holiday office party has become almost synonymous with drinking too much and making a fool of yourself. In television shows and movies, there are rarely consequences for those who make sexual advances toward other employees. However, in real life, unprofessional or sexually-charged behavior during a Christmas party can result in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

A 2010 survey of employees found that 40 percent of respondents admitted to either witnessing inappropriate behavior at a work party or engaging in inappropriate behavior themselves. Nearly a quarter of employees surveyed said that they or another coworker were reprimanded because of an incident at a holiday party. 11 percent of respondents reported that they or another employee had been fired as a result of the misconduct.

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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