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Employment relationship

State-specific laws
What state-specific laws govern the employment relationship?

A number of state-specific laws govern the employment relationship in Illinois, including:

  • the Illinois Human Rights Act;
  • the Illinois Minimum Wage Law;
  • the Prevailing Wage Act;
  • the Personnel Record Review Act;
  • the Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act;
  • the Employee Credit Privacy Act;
  • the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (“Ban the Box Act”); and
  • the Equal Pay Act.

Who do these cover, including categories of workers?

The answer to this question depends largely on the particular law. For example, the Illinois Human Rights Act applies to “[a]ny individual performing services for remuneration within this State for an employer,” as well as apprentices and applicants for apprentices. The act was also recently amended to expand the protections against sexual harassment to unpaid interns. Additionally, the Ban the Box Act applies to both applicants and employees.

Misclassification
Are there state-specific rules regarding employee/contractor misclassification?

The Illinois Department of Labor takes the position that:

“[s]ervice performed by an individual for an employing unit, whether or not such individual employs others in connection with the performance of such services, shall be deemed to be employment unless and until it is proven in any proceeding where such issue is involved that: (1) such individual has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of such services, both under his contract of service and in fact; (2) such service is either outside the usual course of the business for which such service is performed of that such service is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed; and (3) such individual is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business.” 

Additionally, the Illinois Employee Classification Act provides special rules for the classification of workers in the construction industry.

Contracts
Must an employment contract be in writing?

No. However, with respect to certain pay practices (e.g., the payment of severance or reimbursement for expenses), an employer’s past practices can be instructive or binding.

Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

No.

Are mandatory arbitration agreements enforceable?

Yes, subject to general principles of contract formation.

How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

Changes to existing employment agreements should preferably be made in writing, signed and dated by both parties. Depending on the nature of the agreement, additional consideration may be required (e.g., for new non-compete agreements or restrictive covenants).

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