DuPage County estate planning lawyerA guitar, a recipe book, and a diary: what do these items all have in common? They are among the top ten most common family heirlooms. When it comes to your personal property, deciding how to divide your family heirlooms can be one of the most emotionally challenging aspects of estate planning. How do you determine who will most enjoy a family painting that has been passed down across three generations? The last thing you want to do is to cause a rift amongst the loved ones you leave behind. Do your children or other family members even want any family heirlooms? And if not, what should you do with them instead?

How to Avoid Conflict and Hurt Feelings

There is only one grand piano in your living room, so how do you decide who gets it when you are gone? The first thing to do is ask your loved ones what, if any, particular item stands out in their minds as something they would like to have to remember you by. If more than one person has an interest in any given item, the following methods can work to ease tensions and emotions:

  • Ensure that your will details precisely who gets what.
  • Try to disperse personal belongings to your children equally if at all possible (if that is your wish).
  • Give away heirlooms during your lifetime.

Pass Down Your Values and Your Memories, Not Your Belongings

Your heirs may not actually want to inherit items like porcelain, silverware, or furniture. These objects likely have great sentimental value to you, but they might mean little to your children or grandchildren, who may not have grown up with these objects and do not understand their history. Instead of a fight over who gets what, it may turn into a fight over who gets stuck with the couch.

Many people have more attachment, and place more value, on other heirlooms, such as letters, written family stories, photographs, diaries, videos, handwritten values or life lessons, and audio recordings. Many of these items can be duplicated and distributed to more than one loved one. This comes at little cost and may provide infinitely more joy and heartwarming memories for your family than a dining table or chandelier—objects that certainly have value to you, but possibly not to everyone else.

Part of an estate plan includes asking your loved ones if they have any interest in a particular item. If they do not, and it has no monetary value, consider having it donated to your favorite charity, and make sure that your loved ones each get a copy of the photos and family history books instead.

A Dedicated Attorney Is a Phone Call Away

A Naperville estate planner can help you with these questions and work with you to draft a will that reflects your and your loved ones’ wishes. Contact the skilled DuPage County estate planning attorneys of Momkus LLC today for answers to your questions. Call our office at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.




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Illinois child labor law attorneyIf you employ minors, there are certain rules and regulations that the state of Illinois requires you to follow. A violation of minor labor laws could result in strict fines and even open you up to a workplace lawsuit. While minors can make great employees, and the experience that they take away from being employed by your company will help them later in life, it is critical that you take precautions to protect yourself and your business from financial harm.

Maximum Hours and Hours of Ineligible Work

A child’s first “job” is to go to school, do homework, and learn. Employment can often get in the way of this, resulting in poor grades and a bleak future. As such, the state of Illinois puts strict rules on when a minor can work and how much they can work. According to the Illinois Department of Labor, minors who are 14 to 15 years old cannot work:

  • Before 7:00 a.m.;
  • After 7:00 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1;
  • After 9:00 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day;
  • More than eight hours on non-school days;
  • More than three hours on school days;
  • More than 24 total hours during school weeks;
  • More than 48 total hours during non-school weeks; or
  • More than six days in any week.

Exceptions to the Rule

All 14 and 15 year olds must obtain work or employment certificates from their school before they are allowed to be employed. There are some exceptions under Illinois’ Child Labor Law (820 ILCS 205) to the regulations defined above, but only for the following types of employment:

  • Officiating youth activities (refereeing). When the minor is 12 or 13 years old, there must be a parent or guardian present. Other factors come into play here as well, such as the age of the children the minor is refereeing;
  • Caddying at a golf course when the minor is 13 years old or older;
  • Working in agriculture when the minor is 10 years old or older, as long as work is done during school vacations or outside of school hours;
  • Selling or distributing magazines when school is not in session; and
  • Domestic work done outside of school hours, as long as this employment has no connection with the employer’s business or trade.

What Type of Work Can Minors Do?

Minors aged 14 and 15 can do most adult jobs, with the main exception being any work designated as “hazardous.” Hazardous work includes working in a mine, factory, manufacturing plant, or in construction.

When You Need to Call an Attorney

When hiring minors, if you are unsure whether the type of employment in question is hazardous, it is best to seek the advice of a skilled employment law attorney. Additionally, whenever you are employing a minor, you need to ensure that they are working within the lawful time frame, such as outside school hours, and that their hours never exceed the maximum allotment. The dedicated DuPage County employment attorneys at Momkus LLC can answer your questions today. Contact us at 630-434-0400 to arrange a consultation.




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DuPage County employment law attorneys, no-fault policy, employee handbook, employee demerit points, workplace pregnancy discriminationAs an employer, you rely on the hard, consistent work of your employees. If they show up late, skip out on work early, or frequently miss work days, your business shoulders the financial setback. In order to protect your business, including the jobs of other employees who show up on time to do their work, you set in place certain employment rules and regulations for all of your employees.

An effective employee handbook will thoroughly describe your policies regarding sick days, unpaid time off, and vacation time, as well as the hours that your employees are expected to be at work. However, there are practices that can do more harm than good—for both your employees as well as you.

No-Fault Policies Lead to Lawsuits

Employers have been ramping up the practice of using no-fault tardy and absent policies. These no-fault policies award demerit points to workers who show up late, leave early, or miss entire days of work. Demerits can lead to reduced hourly pay, demotions, missing out on bonuses or raises, other penalties, and even job termination. It may seem like a good idea, but the American Civil Liberties Union warns that employers who use no-fault policies could face employment lawsuits for unfair treatment of pregnant workers or employees with disabilities.

How No-Fault Policies Target Pregnant Women and Open Employers Up for Workplace Lawsuits 

The United States is the only developed nation that does not guarantee child care or paid maternity leave. As such, pregnant women (and new mothers) are left to try and fit in doctor’s appointments on lunch breaks, take vacation days if they have them during bouts of morning sickness, and are expected to stay late when they need an extra 10 minutes of bathroom breaks.

Pregnant women who work under no-fault policies are faced with three bleak options: continue working through pregnancy and accumulate demerits, quit their job, or use the Family and Medical Leave Act to take an unpaid leave of absence. Creating a work environment that penalizes pregnant women, new mothers, and the disabled may seem like the most financially sound option, but it will hurt your business in the long run. Employees will become disgruntled, you will face a high turnover rate (training a new employee costs at least $1,200 on average), productivity and sales will decline, and worst of all, you could be sued for discrimination.

Our Employment Attorneys Can Help Today

Our attorneys can help you come up with a better solution than a no-fault policy that penalized pregnant women and the disabled. We can design a policy that protects you from discrimination lawsuits and helps your business grow and continue to be successful in the years to come. Contact the dedicated DuPage County employment law attorneys of Momkus LLC for assistance with your case.




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DuPage County employment law attorneys, job discrimination, social media and employment law, workplace discrimination, workplace discrimination lawsuitsAs people spend more and more time on social media, it becomes easier to track their lives and gain a rough understanding of who they are. Companies know this, and social media sites sell data about each and every one of us to these companies.

Social media is increasingly used as an advertising tool, and potential customers can be pinpointed for various products. Advertisements for those products pop up on just about every website to which a person navigates.

Just as companies are using data found on social media to sell products, employers are turning to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms to make employment decisions. However, this practice can be extremely risky for an employer should they accidentally make an employment decision based on a protected characteristic of the employee or job applicant.

Discrimination During the Hiring Process

Sixty-eight percent of American adults use Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center, and that percentage point is higher for middle aged and young adults. An employer can quickly gather information about an applicant using his or her Facebook account, such as political affiliation, favorite genre of movies and books, hobbies, and other interests.

An employer could potentially use Facebook for more sinister purposes as well, such as figuring out the applicant’s age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, pregnancy status, marital status, and country of origin. If it is found out that an employer based their decision to not hire the applicant on any of those protected personal characteristics, the applicant could sue.

Discrimination of a Current Employee

While the majority of people in a survey believed that it was not okay to be Facebook friends with one’s boss, most people do believe that it is perfectly fine to be Facebook friends with other colleagues, according to the Huffington Post. This should give an employer an idea about how their employees feel about their social media being used to make employment decisions — that they do not think it is appropriate.

As an employer, you need to tread very carefully when using social media to fire, demote, or promote someone. Ask yourself if the employee’s behavior displayed on social media is illegal, unethical or immoral, is considered hate speech, or is hurting your business. If it is not, chances are that you should not use that social media information to make an employment decision — doing so could open you up for a discrimination lawsuit if the employee’s protected characteristics came into play.

A Chicago Employment Law Attorney is Here to Help

Chicago employers stand a lot to lose, and not a lot to gain by using social media for making employment decisions. If you have questions about an action that you wish to take, or if you are facing allegations of discrimination, contact the skilled DuPage County employment law attorneys of Momkus LLC today for legal guidance.




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disabled employee, disabled workers, DuPage County employment attorneys, Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wageMinimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour, or $4.95 for tipped employees, according to the Illinois Department of Labor. As such, would it therefore be illegal to pay an employee less than this? Would this not be just as unlawful as paying an employee less because he or she was disabled?

It is legal to pay a worker with a disability less in one rare instance—when the employee is incapable of performing his or her job duties to the level of a non-disabled employee. However, employers need to be exceedingly careful regarding the unequal payment of disabled people. An employer could easily make a mistake and be sued for discrimination. Or, this error in judgement could even result in a federal investigation.

The Exemption to Minimum Wage Lies Within the Fair Labor Standards Act

Federal law actually allows employers to compensate disabled workers as little as $1 an hour for work a non-disabled employee would be able to better perform. In order to be eligible for this waiver program (14(c) under the Fair Labor Standards Act), an employer has to prove that a non-disabled employee would be able to perform the job better than the disabled workers—something that Self Help, an Illinois non-profit was unable to do, according to Vox Media, Inc. As such, Self Help was ordered by the federal government to pay two years of back pay to more than 250 workers, something that would hurt most employers.

How the 14c Waiver Salary Calculation Works

Of the 13 percent of the U.S. population that suffers from either a mental or physical disability, there are 153,030 who are legally eligible to be paid less than minimum wage under the 14(c) waiver program. To calculate a potentially disabled employee’s legal salary or hourly wages, an employer must prove that the disabled employee is slower at performing the given task, and reduce his or her hourly wages (from the average in the area for that job) by the extra time it would take him or her to perform the job.

For example, if it took a disabled worker twice as long to stock an aisle of groceries, and the average hourly wages for that position in Chicago was $10 an hour, then the employer could pay the disabled employee half that—$5 an hour.

Call a Chicago Employment Attorney Today

The Fair Labor Standards Act included the waiver exemption for minimum wage with the intent of creating a society that found a use for and employed the disabled. Including disabled people is an important step in creating a more just and equal society; still, there are those who have taken advantage of this system and have ruined it for others.

Now, the federal government and employee rights attorneys are keen to penalize employers who use this system. Hence, you need to take extra precautions if you employ individuals with disabilities, and ensure that you are not in violation of any state or federal laws.The dedicated DuPage County employment attorneys at Momkus LLC offer consultations to employers for this very purpose. Contact us today to discuss your case and your options.




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