Illinois Client Update
Legal News for Illinois Employers 
Protecting Employers for over 30 Years 
December 2017  

Can a Great Human Resources Department End Sexual Harassment in Your Company?
By Nancy E. Joerg
Unfortunately, no. The answer to stopping sexual harassment problems in a company is more complicated and difficult than just hiring an extremely dedicated and motivated Human Resources Department. Every person in the Company must be fully trained to understand the total unacceptability of sexual harassment (and, at the most basic level, fully understand what sexual harassment is-and how to complain when observing and/or experiencing it).

The explosive flood of sexual harassment complaints hitting the news in recent months is often accompanied by angry accusatory comments such as: Why didn't the Human Resources Department of the Company prevent this from happening?

It's comforting to think that having a great Human Resources Department could head off all problems of sexual misbehavior at work. It certainly helps! But, adding to the complexity of sexual harassment incidents in the workplace, there is the reality that what offends one employee may not offend many others.

Questions? Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
Private employers should have sexual harassment prevention training to prevent a "#MeToo" moment
By Anthony J. Caruso, Jr 
Unfortunately, claims of sexual harassment are happening everywhere in today's society. Hollywood, Washington, DC and New York are prime examples. Illinois employers, don't be naïve - it happens in Illinois too!

What can an employer do to reduce the risk of sexual harassment claims? The key is sexual harassment prevention training. Simply having a written sexual harassment policy is not enough to protect an employer.

Sexual harassment prevention training should be provided to new employees as well as current employees on a regular basis. This training can be online or in person. The training should consist of an explanation and several examples of what sexual harassment is, the company's policy and complaint process and examples of inappropriate conduct with the opportunity for a question and answer session.

Also crucial is frequent supervisory training where supervisors are told to report all complaints of sexual harassment, no matter how seemingly minor.

Wessels Sherman is available to provide cost effective sexual harassment prevention training at your company facility. Please contact us for more details.

Questions? Want to set up a training session? Contact Attorney Tony Caruso in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or email him at
Take Steps to Avoid Overly Inflated Performance Reviews
By Joseph H. Laverty

As 2017 comes to an end, many companies will perform their annual employee performance reviews. Companies typically do performance reviews at the beginning of the calendar or their fiscal year or at the employee's anniversary with the company. No matter when you perform reviews, companies need to be careful that managers do not over rate their subordinates. Many managers (sometimes unconsciously) over rate the employees they are reviewing. There are numerous reasons this happens.

It is a common human failing - to overlook the deficiencies of an employee's performance and, at the same time, emphasize and even exaggerate the strong points of the employee's performance. The truth is that it may be better to have absolutely no performance reviews in a company rather than to have performance reviews that are inflated.

Questions? Contact Attorney Joe Laverty at (563) 333-9102 or by email at
Our Popular Breakfast Seminar - in a New Location!
Firing Without Fear!
When : Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Where : Hampton Inn (Quad City Airport), Illini/Hawkeye Room, 2450 69th Ave, Moline, IL 61265
Presented by : Dick Wessels, Nancy Joerg, Joe Laverty and Tony Caruso  
Cost: $100, which includes breakfast and handouts 
Join highly experienced Wessels Sherman employment lawyers Dick Wessels, Nancy Joerg, Joe Laverty and Tony Caruso for a special in-person breakfast seminar. Many exciting raffle prizes too!
Employers, attorneys, supervisors, accountants and members of company management will gain valuable information and strategies on how to fire employees and dramatically minimize the risk (and expense) of a lawsuit.  
Some of the areas the speakers will cover include:
  • Employment at will. How you fire, what specific words you say when you fire, how much latitude employers have, the strategy of saying the decision is final. What should (and should not) occur in the termination meeting.
  • How to strategically terminate if the employee is high risk in any way due to age, sickness, workers' comp pregnancy, out of FMLA, whistleblower, race, disability, etc.
  • Use of documentation and discipline - what (and what not) to write and do!
  • When is the use of release and settlement agreements appropriate? What should you do (and not do) in a release. Tricky situations such as group terminations and employees over the age of 40. Can you ensure that the employee won't file for unemployment? How do you fire and also win at misconduct hearings.
To Legal Assistant Karen Alexandrou, who had the good fortune to "Shoot the Puck" on behalf of Little City Charities at the Blawkhawks game against the Sabres on December 8, 2017.  Although she came close, she did not score the round trip tickets to anywhere in the continental US.  Good job Karen!!

Employment Law Questions?
Sign up for Wessels Sherman's Very Popular Telephone Program

We can help you solve these workplace issues and many more:
  • Employee coming in late?
  • ACA/ADA/FMLA questions?
  • Can I deduct the cost for a uniform from employee pay?
  • What new employee paperwork do I need?
  • Accident at work?
  • Do all these new laws apply to my company?
  • Can I fire an employee and not be sued?
  • Does our privacy policy cover internet use?
  • Can my employees Tweet that?
  • Employees sharing confidential information?  
For only $75 a month you will have unlimited access to Wessels Sherman attorneys who can answer these and other employment law questions. Call for a "free trial" of a month or more!  
Contact us to learn more or to sign up.
Upcoming Seminars and Teleseminars
How to Handle an Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Audit
Teleseminar: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 2-3 pm

Firing Without Fear: Top Strategies to Protect Employers!!  In Person Breakfast Seminar: Friday, February 24, 2018, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Hampton Inn (Quad City Airport), Illini/Hawkeye Room, 2450 69th Ave, Moline, IL 61265

Visit our website to view upcoming seminars & teleseminars
Wessels Sherman has well-staffed offices with experienced attorneys to assist with our readers' legal needs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa too. Businesses with operations/matters in these states are encouraged to call any of our attorneys for assistance. Additionally, Wessels Sherman attorneys regularly work with other lawyers as a highly cost-effective and trusted co-counsel and local counsel. Referrals are always appreciated and respected. 
Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.

Sean F. Darke, Esq.