Illinois Client Update
Legal News for Illinois Employers 
Protecting Employers for over 30 Years 
March 2018 

Union Organizing--"This Is An Emergency!"
By Richard H. Wessels 
Nancy Joerg heard me talking on the phone with a client the other day. She liked the advice and asked me to write a commentary for our next Wessels Sherman Client Alert. The subject that I was discussing with a company president was one that doesn't get much attention these days-union organizing.

Union organizing in the private sector is down dramatically. The numbers are startling. No more than a few decades ago, we saw about 8,000 union organizing petitions filed by labor unions across the country annually. (These are the traditional petitions to bring about an NLRB election.) Today the number is about 1,300 annually. For quite a few years, I have been writing about the reasons, and our readers are familiar with the undeniable factors at work. But, a new phenomenon has developed.

Questions? Contact Attorney Richard Wessels in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
Firing without Fear - Quad Cities Seminar
Another successful event!

Nearly 50 people attended the February 23rd event in Moline. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Employers Beware of Using "Comp Time" In Lieu of Paying Overtime!
By Ryan L. Young

There is a popular (and incorrect!) belief that all employers can provide employees compensatory time off in lieu of paying overtime ("comp time"). While public employers can use compensatory time in lieu of paying overtime (with certain limitations), private employers who provide their employees with compensatory time off will mostly find themselves caught in a real legal snafu.

Employers with compensatory time off policies generally have employees who work overtime "bank" any hours in excess of forty in a workweek to be used later as compensatory time off. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows for public employers to use compensatory time off instead of paying overtime (generally, with a limit of 240 hours). Unfortunately, neither the FLSA or the Illinois Minimum Wage Law extend the ability to use compensatory time off to private employers. In fact, the Illinois Department of Labor's website specifically cautions that the use of compensatory time off by private sector employers is ILLEGAL.
Questions? Contact Attorney Ryan Young at (312) 629-9300 or by email at

Wessels Sherman is a proud sponsor of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra

Wessels Sherman was honored as a sponsor of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra for the 2017-18 Season on February 10, 2018. Their concerts are at the beautiful Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

Don't Have a Neutral Absenteeism Policy: Warning to Employers!
By Anthony J. Caruso, Jr.

Some Illinois employers may have neutral absenteeism policies that "administratively terminate" any employee who has failed to return to work from a medical leave of absence after a stated period of time such as one year or some other period of time set by the company.

This kind of policy is not advisable because it is probably a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In a class action suit a number of years ago against a major employer by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) it was argued by the EEOC that such a policy violated the ADA. The case settled for over six million dollars. The EEOC alleged that employers are required to assess medical leaves of absences under the Americans with Disabilities Act on an individual employee basis, rather than by following a set rule for all employees.

Thus, the prudent employer should have a personal leave of absence policy to be assessed by the employer on a case-by-case basis with no stated set limits (e.g., 12 weeks).
Questions? Contact Attorney Tony Caruso at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
Nancy Joerg and Joe Laverty Speak at 2018 Mid-West Truckers Association's Annual Convention

Wessels Sherman Shareholders Nancy Joerg and Joseph Laverty spoke at the
Mid-West Truckers Association's Annual Convention in Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois on Friday, February 2, 2018. Nancy and Joe's presentation was titled: "Employment Law Update - Independent Contractor, Sexual Harassment & More." Nancy and Joe were honored to speak to the members of the Mid-West Truckers Association at their yearly premier event.


Employment Law Questions?
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Upcoming Seminars and Teleseminars

How to Properly Structure a Strong Independent Contractor Relationship
Teleseminar: Thursday, May 10, 2018, 2-3 pm

The Cutting Edge - Critical Employment Issues
  • Friday, May 18, 2018 - Minnesota
    (Marriott Minneapolis Airport, Mall of America, Minneapolis, MN)
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - Illinois
    (Belvedere Events & Banquets, Elk Grove Village, IL)
  • Thursday, May 24, 2018 - Wisconsin
    (Hilton Garden Inn, Oconomowoc, WI)
Sex Harassment & Discrimination Complaints: What Employers Should Do Right Away to Protect the Company
Teleseminar: Thursday, July 19, 2018, 2-3 pm

Yes, You Can Fire A High Risk Employee Safely-Here's How
Teleseminar: Thursday, August 23, 2018, 2-3 pm

Employee Handbooks for Illinois Employers: What Policies to Include and Why
Teleseminar: Thursday, November, 2018, 2-3 pm
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.