Just a Lawyer in Lincoln's Hometown

September 15, 2017

Religious Accommodation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 7:39 am

Ya gotta and shoulda accommodate.

Here is a good list of things to keep in mind:

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September 5, 2017

Posner Retiring

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 9:03 am

Judge Richard Posner is retiring from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He will be missed by many. He has always been entertaining. Usually the smartest person in the room, Judge Posner suffered of knowing it. Although more conservative than I would prefer, Judge Posner was not political, and no prisoner to conservative orthodoxy. Lets hope his replacement is half the judge he is.

September 2, 2017

Ruining it for the Rest of the Police

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 1:31 pm

My police friends often wonder why the general public increasingly disrespects them. This is among the reasons:

Nurse Arrested by Police Ignoring the Law

I don’t practice criminal law at all, but I’ve known for some time that the police cannot generally draw blood without a warrant. Certainly a trained police phlebotomist (and his Lt.) had to know.

When police officers blatantly ignore the law and abuse their powers of arrest,  how can they expect the public to respect them  – and their fellow officers who do at least try to follow the law?

Bad apples need to be thrown away before they spoil the whole barrel. The honest and hardworking police don’t deserve to have their lives made harder by the bad ones.

August 24, 2017

Students are Not, generally, Employees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 7:30 am

Although the analysis is important, and not legally self-evident, I am not surprised that cosmetology students who work in school salons as part of their training are not employees.

See, http://www.wageandhourlawupdate.com/2017/08/articles/wage-and-hour/hair-today-gone-tomorrow-seventh-circuit-rejects-claim-that-cosmetology-trainees-were-employees/

 

August 23, 2017

Child Support Providing Lawyer Employment!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 4:56 pm

The new child support formula in Illinois is providing lots of work for Illinois lawyers. What used to be a simple – if unfair – calculation is now complicated. The statute left lots of questions unanswered and we are now trying to fill in the blanks. Thank you legislature.

August 22, 2017

Conscientious (or Scared) Employees Screwed by the Clock.

Filed under: Employment Law — Chuck @ 5:15 pm
Tags: ,

One of the more common methods of calculating pay for employees is “rounding.” Often employers will round employees’ time to a preset increment. In my experience it is to the nearest quarter-hour.

For example, if an employee clocks in at 8:55 a.m., the employer (or more likely the payroll company or software) will round the time to 9 a.m., erasing five minutes of work. Of course, if the employee clocks in at 9:05 a.m. the employer should round the time to 9:00 a.m. giving the employee a bonus.(The system was reasonable when all these calculations were made by hand – but that is rarely the case anymore.)

When rounding interacts with employer attendance policies, it can hurt employees. Conscientious employees tend to clock in a few minutes early in any case. But companies that strictly enforce tardy rules, get scared employees who don’t want to get in trouble for being late, and so they are coerced into clocking in early. in either case those extra minutes are rounded away.

The minutes add up. A 5-minute loss of time every work dayadds up to about 100 minutes per month per worker. While each individual worker loses only a little over an hour and a half of pay
per month (not insignificant but not usually enough to give the employee the incentive to take on the employer), the employer gets a lot of free work across the entire workforce.

Fairly applied rounding is generally allowed under existing wage rules. (Note that its not always applied fairly, I have encountered employers who rounded up all clock-ins, thus always stealing pay from the employee.)

February 11, 2013

Saving Lincoln

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 8:15 pm

I attended this afternoon the first public screening of Saving Lincoln, sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Association. Saving Lincoln is an independently produced film sharing a dramatized story of Lincoln and his good friend and “self-appointed protector” Ward Hill Lamon. Laman, originally from the south, was a lawyer who road the old Eighth Circuit  with Lincoln. He became a constant companion and bodyguard to Lincoln in Washington. He was famously absent on the night of Lincoln’s assassination. 

You can tell that this movie is both independently produced, and a work of love. The writer/producer Salvador Litvak was at the screening and his enthusiasm shone from him all through his remarks. The audience, including me, gave the film and Mr. Litvak well deserved standing ovations. 

I encourage you to point your browser to savinglincoln.com to learn more.

February 10, 2013

Knoxville Courthouse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 8:37 pm

Dull gray, wet, rainy, windy – not my idea of a day for a road trip  But I am glad I went. Sarah and I attended the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration at the Knoxville Courthouse in Knoxville, IL. When I practiced law in Peoria I often passed through Knoxville and knew the old Knox County Courthouse was still there, but I didn’t know what a gem it was. I found out today.

Built in 1839 and used as the county courthouse until the county seat was moved to Galesburg in 1873, the building is now used as part of the museum complex run by Knox County Historical Sites. The courthouse is built of locally made handmade bricks and local hand finished butternut wood. The building has been extensively rehabbed, especially the 1st floor. A lot of work has been done on the second floor, but you could see the dream in the volunteers’ eyes when they spoke of restoring it to its courtroom glory. Judge Steven Douglas held court there in 1841-43.

Today’s celebration included a reception for Dr. Rodney Davis, and Dr. Douglas Wilson. Both are nationally known Lincoln scholars at Knox College in Galesburg. The professors are nationally acclaimed for their Lincoln Studies Center and their authorship.

For years the old Courthouse housed the entire collection of the Knox County Historical Museum. It still contains many pieces in the old courtroom. But just across the street is the new museum. Climate controlled (unlike the Old Courthouse), which protects a wonderful collection, and containing everything from a buggy used by Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Senate campaign, to WWII memorabilia, this little museum makes a great impression.

We didn’t have the time to see all that Knoxville offers, and I know there is more. Knoxville has a great gem in its downtown, one well worth a visit.

January 19, 2013

Looking for Lincoln in Quincy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 9:42 am

Traveled to Quincy, Illinois, yesterday with my darlin. Attended a meeting at the wonderful Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design. If you are in Quincy, it is well worth the visit. I have always loved Quincy as it has hung on to much of its older architecture, with buildings from the 1840’s forward.

Unknown to me before yesterday was that Quincy sheltered the Mormans exiled from Missouri in, I believe, 1838-39. Itwas a big deal because not only were Mormans rejected by many people, but there were literally more Morman refugees than residents of Quincy. The Mormans moved on to what was to become Nauvoo, Illinois – and the later persecution and murder of Joseph Smith in 1844 which led to the migration westward.

Quincy also hosts interesting Lincoln era sites. Of course many know that it was one of the Lincoln-Douglas debate sites. But many other connections exist, and there remain the traces of the rivertown importance of the town. Many people forget that during most of Lincoln’s life the  country’s “highways” were in fact its rivers. The important cities were on the  coasts or rivers. That meant places like Quincy were truly bustling and centers of learning and power. At one time Quincy was the second largest city in Illinois. One cannot understand the forces that shaped Abraham Lincoln without appreciating places like Quincy.

Quincy remains a wonderful town. You can feed the empty belly caused by seeing the sites at wonderful eateries like the Patio. Newly discovered by my wife and me, it is long time eatery in Quincy. Homey like only older places can be, it serves what I swear is the world’s largest pork chop. Fully two inches thick and perfectly grilled, as much as I tried I couldn’t finish it. Sarah enjoyed the twice baked and they accomodated my blood sugar with a side of brussels sprouts. The Patio was worth the trip, but is only one of the many delights in Quincy.

December 7, 2012

Cats Paw: YouMust Investigate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 1:32 pm

As I have seen a flurry of “cats paw” cases, I thought I would explore Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S. Ct. 1186; 179 L. Ed. 2d 144 (2011), a US Supreme Court decision that established, finally, the so called cats paw theory as a permanent part of discrimination jurisprudence. The cats paw theory, oversimplified, holds that an employer is liable for discrimination even if the person making the ultimate employment decision is not motivated by discrimination, when that person is relying upon someone else who is.

So, when an HR professional makes a decision to terminate an employee based upon the recommendation of that person’s supervisor, that professional needs to conduct a thorough investigation of the supervisor’s allegations. If it appears that the supervisor maybe motivated by something other than that set forth in the recommendation, such as a dislike of the employee’s participation in military service (as was the case in Staub), an even deeper investigation maybe required.

If the HR professional merely accepts the recommendation for termination without investigation, and if the recommendation for termination was motivated at least in part by an illegal bias, the company may be liable for an illegal termination. So good faith at the top is no longer an insulation from liability. The good faith must extend from the employees through the decision maker. This means investigatory skills are now a prime part of the skill set needed in HR. If those investigatory skills are not a part of the HR system of your business, either hire someone with them or contact an attorney who does have them.

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