Employment & Labor Law Lawyer

Frequently Asked Employment & Labor Law Questions

Under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and corresponding Illinois labor law statutes, most employees, unless subject to an enumerated exception, are entitled to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week or over 8 hours per day. Overtime is generally 1.5 times the normal pay rate. 


Federal and state laws protect Illinois employees who deserve to be paid overtime. The most common violation occurs when an employer requires an employee to “work off the clock.”

Working off the clock often occurs when an employer requires an employee to work through a meal break. In Illinois, an employer is required to provide each employee who works 7 1/2 consecutive hours at least a 20 minute meal break.

Another common violation occurs when an employee is required to perform work before and after their shift and pay begins. For example, in Missouri last year, Missouri correctional officers received a $100,000,000 based, in part, on being required to perform work before their shift. 


Both federal law and state law allows an employer to use tips as a credit towards their minimum wage obligation. In other words, tipped employees can be paid less than the standard minimum wage amount because their tips will offset the difference.

Tips are considered property of the employee and an employer is generally prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than a credit towards its minimum wage obligation to employees or in furtherance of a valid tip pool. A valid tip pool can only be among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters and waitresses. A non-valid tip pool occurs when employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips are involved, such as cooks and dishwashers.

Most employment lawyers handle unpaid wage claims on a contingent basis. This means that you do not pay out-of-pocket for an unpaid wages lawyer. Instead, attorney fees will be paid at the end of the case out of a settlement or verdict if, and only if, a successful recovery is obtained.

Employment discrimination occurs when an employee is not hired, or was terminated, demoted, passed over for a promotion, or otherwise subjected to less favorable treatment in the workplace based on a protected class. A “protected class” generally refers to discrimination based on (1) gender; (2) sexual orientation; (3) pregnancy; (4) race; (5) national origin; (6) age; (7) disability; or (8) religion.

No! You cannot be terminated by your employer specifically for making an allegation that you have been discriminated against in the workplace. Doing so may constitute retaliatory discharge or wrongful termination.