Committed To Your Legal Rights
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Many state and federal laws are intended to regulate businesses and places of employment, in order to promote consumer and employee safety. However, certain employers nonetheless violate these laws, and it is only because courageous employees expose this activity that this conduct is brought to light. These Good Samaritan employees who decide to “blow the whistle” on their employers take great risks in coming forward. Illinois law protects employee whistleblowers when they reasonably believe that their employers are violating a state or federal law, and has enacted the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”), 740 ILCS 174/ to afford certain protections to whistle-blowing employees.
The most important purpose behind the IWA is to protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. The IWA recognizes that whistleblowers often have a target on their backs once the employers find out that the employee has complained to the government or a state agency about the employer’s illegal conduct. Employers often retaliate against whistleblowers by, for example, cutting the employee’s hours, issuing written disciplinary notices, assigning more difficult or less desirable job assignments, or terminating the employee. Such retaliation in response to an employee’s whistleblowing activities is strictly prohibited by the IWA and the employee may have a viable whistleblower case against his or her employer.
If you are or have been retaliated against by your employer for “blowing the whistle” about your employer’s wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to damages under the Illinois Whistleblower Act. Please contact our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.
We are frequently contacted by individuals who describe inappropriate and often vulgar conduct that they have experienced at work. They inquire as to whether we believe they have a valid claim for sexual harassment. In many instances, we have to advise them that we cannot assist them, despite the fact they have experienced highly offensive conduct at their job. Here is why.
Generally, prevailing in a case for sexual harassment rarely hinges on whether the conduct experienced by the employee qualifies as sexual harassment. Often, that is obvious, and in many instances the employee has corroborating witnesses, or emails, photographs, screen shots or other written evidence of the wrongful conduct. Instead, the reason why an employee may not prevail in a case of sexual harassment involves an issue employers are increasingly very skilled at arguing: the harasser was not the victim’s “supervisor.” In Illinois, the term “supervisor” is not simply the person with the authority to oversee aspects of another’s job performance, or tell an employee what to do. Instead, “supervisor” is narrowly defined as those employees who have the power to directly affect the terms and conditions of an individual’s employment.
That is not to say that the sex harassment victim will not prevail just because the harasser is a co-worker. If the harasser is not deemed to be the victim’s “supervisor,” then additional burdens are placed upon the victim in order to prevail in a case of sexual harassment. An employer may be held responsible for co-worker on co-worker harassment “only if the employer knew or should have known about the coworker’s acts of harassment and fails to take appropriate remedial action.” McKenzie v. Illinois Dept. of Transp., 92 F.3d 473, 480 (7th Cir.1996). In other words, the victim has the burden of proving that she provided notice to the company and allowed the company time to take action that the addresses the harassment.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. are experienced in responding to the arguments made by companies in defending the actions of their employees who have engaged in sexual harassment. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment at your job, please contact our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.
Getting older is a fact of life, and for many, nursing homes eventually become their new homes. And while living in a nursing home might be as inevitable as aging, you can take certain measures to ensure that all reasonable safeguards are in place at the nursing home and that you are getting reasonable and adequate care.
Nursing homes in Illinois are regulated by the Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101, et seq.) and the Illinois Administrative Code (42 CFR §483). If a nursing home or those who work there violate these regulations and standards causing harm to a resident, then the victim or their family may wish to consider exercising their legal rights.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines “abuse” as “any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than that by accidental means in a facility.” (210 ILCS 45/1-103). “Neglect” is defined as “a failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident’s physical or mental condition.” (210 ILCS 45/1-117).
Unfortunately, nursing home residents are all too often victims of abuse or neglect, and as such, may have meritorious cases against the nursing home. For example, Nursing homes may fail to develop and implement a comprehensive care plan to address the resident’s medical, nursing, mental and psychosocial needs, or fail to take all necessary measures to prevent falls, pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration, and contractures.
While getting old is a natural part of life, nursing home neglect is not. It is important to understand that bed sores are not a part of the natural aging process. If a resident develops pressure sores at a nursing home, it may be because the nursing home staff did not adequately and reasonably monitor and turn the resident. Additionally, a resident’s significant weight loss while at the nursing home may be a sign of malnutrition and/or dehydration. Malnutrition and dehydration may also weaken the body and immune system, which makes it even harder to prevent or heal bed sores. Finally, it goes without saying that not all falls that occur at a nursing home are “accidental.”
Recently, the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. represented the estate of an elderly woman who died as a result of alleged nursing home neglect. The neglect consisted of malnutrition, dehydration, failure to treat and prevent bed sores, failure to treat and prevent contractures, and failure to reasonably and timely implement tube feeding. Our office negotiated a confidential settlement with the nursing home on behalf of the family.
If you believe that you or a loved one are or have been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, please feel free to call our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.