Prinz Law Firm Blog: 2014

  • What is Wrongful Termination?

    Many executives call our offices looking for help when they have been discharged. They were strong performers who didn’t do anything wrong, or maybe had a minor infraction and never even got a written warning. They are certain that because of their strong performance, they can’t just be fired, right? Wrong. The status quo in Illinois is that employment is at-will. This means that employment may be ...
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  • Can I Be Fired for That?

    No. That is the simple answer to the following questions: Can I be fired for my race, gender, disability, national origin, or for being at least forty (40) years old? Can I be fired for my alien status? Can I be fired for making a complaint that my employer violated the Occupation Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”)? Can I be fired for refusing to take a lie detector test? Can I be fired in retaliation ...
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  • Five Don'ts When Handling an Employee Termination

    Terminating an employee is one of the most difficult tasks to undertake as a manager. Done well, and you will help move your former employee out of the organization with a clear, fair message about why he or she is leaving. Done poorly, and you may send your former employee packing with (at least the specter of) potential claims against your company. Below are several steps to avoid to help ensure ...
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  • How Managers Can Best Handle Terminating an Employee

    Many executives would likely admit that handling employee terminations is their least favorite part of the job. The process can be unpleasant, emotionally charged, and worse, it can subject an employer to legal liability if mishandled. If you are considering terminating an employee, this post provides practical advice on how to carefully document your decision and carry out the termination. These ...
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  • You've Been Sued: Four Steps for Handling a Non-Compete Dispute

    One job ends, and you would like to start a new job. But as the new job begins, the former employer files a lawsuit regarding a non-compete clause. Unfortunately, this situation arises more often than it should. A lot of times, the non-compete language will be very broad, both in distance and in time. Employees and executives do have some options in dealing with – or avoiding – these issues. ...
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  • Non-Solicitation and Non-Competition Clauses: What's the Difference?

    Restrictive covenants in employment contracts are becoming more and more common. “Restrictive covenants” typically limit an employee’s ability to benefit from an employer’s confidential information or business following the conclusion of the employment relationship. Common restrictive covenants include restrictions on the use of confidential information, anti-solicitation provisions, and ...
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  • Be Smart: Ways to Negotiate Your Non-Compete

    When starting a new job, it is easy to overlook clauses in an employment agreement or contract. For a lot of people, the key is “how much am I getting paid?” However, most executives don’t stay with the same company forever. The other clauses in the contract become very important when an employee – especially an executive – leaves a company. By overlooking the non-compete language in the initial ...
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  • Kristen Prinz appears on First Business with Bill Moller to discuss confusion over freelance workers

    Managing partner, Kristen Prinz, appeared on First Business with Bill Moller to discuss the confusion over freelance workers in the labor market. The 9th Circuit recently ruled that FedEx was misclassifying its workers as independent contractors. There is a lot of confusion regarding misclassification of employees as independent contractors. As Ms. Prinz explained, “what it really comes down to is ...
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  • How To Tell When It Is Time To Quit

    Leaving a job, especially one that compensates well, is a very difficult decision for any executive. After investing what seems like endless time and energy into an organization’s success, it can be difficult to let go and pursue new opportunities. Sometimes there may not even be an obvious reason driving your departure, but you sense that it is time to part ways with your employer nonetheless. ...
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  • Three Mistakes to Avoid as a Manager

    Great leadership is more than simply delegating assignments and reviewing work. True motivation requires you to be attuned to not only the needs of your colleagues and workplace, but to your own behavior as well. Are you unknowingly projecting an image that you do not want your co-workers to imitate? This post will highlight three ways in which you may not be effectively modeling leadership in the ...
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  • First Day on the Job? 8 Tips for Making it a Success

    Bad first impressions are hard to shake, so it’s critical that you ensure you make the right impression on your first day at a new job. Here are eight tips for making your first day at a new job a success: Don’t be late. Nothing is worse than being late on your first day. Make sure you practice your route to work before your first day. On the day of, be sure to leave yourself some extra time to ...
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  • How to Be Productive When Working From Home

    Many people have images of lazing on the sofa in their pajamas while watching daytime talk shows with laptop in hand when they hear “working from home.” In reality, this picture is neither sustainable nor productive. Working from home can have many benefits; you can avoid wasting time commuting, which in-turn can provide you with more time with your family. However, these benefits are diminished ...
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  • Confidence Matters

    Do you ever look around and wonder why people who don’t seem to work as hard as you or are not as smart as you are more successful than you? Business mentor Simon Reynolds’s recent Forbes blog post, The Strong Link Between Your Self Image And Business Success says it could be your self-image that is holding you back. Reynolds claims that our subconscious negative self-assessments can prevent us ...
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  • Remembering the Value of Face Time

    A lot of companies have created flexible work options, allowing their employees to work from the comfort of their homes. Working from home can save time commuting and allow an employee to deal with personal errands. An employee working remotely can still be available via phone, email, or even video. Despite the ease that technology allows for communication, face time is still incredibly important, ...
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  • Court Denies Proposed $324 Million Settlement on Silicon Valley Hiring

    Silicon Valley is known for companies like Apple and Google – and great innovations like the iPhone. Soon, Silicon Valley might also be known for its conspiracy to keep wages low for employees. A judge recently rejected a $324 million settlement proposed by Apple, Google, and two other tech companies finding there is “ample evidence” that the companies were involved in “an overarching conspiracy” ...
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  • Four Ways to Respond to a 360 Review

    A 360 review offers benefits for both the company and for employees by providing – hopefully – constructive feedback. It can allow for peer-to-peer guidance so that a company and employees can improve operations, productivity, and profitability. However, a negative review or comments can be potentially damaging to an employee’s career. Sometimes the information in the review may not even be ...
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  • The Lean Startup Machine 2014

    I had the pleasure of mentoring budding entrepreneurs at Chicago’s Lean Startup Machine weekend on June 22. It was exciting to see first-hand how valuable the lean startup model can be to an entrepreneur. It was also interesting to see that, much like in the real world of business, nearly 70% of participants had given up and closed up shop by the time I started my 5 hour mentoring session. The ...
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  • Charting Your Executive Career

    Since executives spend so much of their time making management decisions and driving revenue, it can be challenging to devote time to their own career development. If executives take even a small fraction of the time they spend strategizing on behalf of their companies to strategizing about their own futures, climbing the corporate ladder can become a much more obtainable goal. Here are three ...
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  • Planning A Graceful Exit Strategy

    There’s been a lot of media hype about some pretty overt resignations including YouTube videos and even a SuperBowl commercial . Although you may be at a breaking point where you wish you could march through your office with a marching band to announce that you are quitting, or you’d love to have a billboard expressing the same, these are not the best choices for your long-term career. It’s ...
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  • Four Factors to Consider When Negotiating an Employment Contract

    High-level executives usually rely on employment law attorneys to negotiate employment contracts, and for good reason: it’s an opportunity to clearly outline expectations and minimize future disputes. In any employment contract, compensation and benefits are key. However, there are many other factors that are essential to a productive and mutually rewarding employment relationship and should ...
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  • 5 Signs Your Contractor May Be An Employee

    We’re excited to release our first in a series of videos sharing free legal knowledge with our readers and colleagues. Does your company have a contractor who is actually an employee? Watch this video to find out.
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  • Five Suggestions for Protecting your Rights Under the FMLA

    The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the jobs of eligible employees who take time off from work to take care of their own serious health condition, to take care of the serious health condition of an immediate family member, or to take care of a newly born or newly adopted child. When the law works as it should, employers grant eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in a ...
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  • How to Make Yourself Indispensable at Work

    Executives who are committed to career growth know that even while planning the next step, they must be top performers in their current jobs. This post offers advice on becoming the go-to person at work, which not only can help you earn a promotion, but can also help you obtain a lucrative position elsewhere if you decide it’s time to shake up your career. It goes without saying that in order to ...
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  • Celebrating Mistakes and Failure in Order to Grow Your Career

    Failure is inescapable. At some point in your career or business, you will make a mistake of some kind that will lead to a flop, ranging from a mere disappointment to a full-scale disaster. Perhaps a project you managed went wildly awry – the deliverable was unacceptable to the client and now your job is on the line. Perhaps it was your dream endeavor (a cake shop) in which you sank your heart and ...
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  • Is Your Boss Stifling Your Growth?

    Like many others, I have been on both sides of the employer/employee fence. Even when you own the business, you’re working for someone. No matter what role you are in, we are all trying to achieve more in our careers and lives. We all think we are doing everything and our bosses or employees are either not paying attention or not doing enough. It’s hard to step outside yourself and maintain ...
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  • 6 Signs You Should Consider Saying "No" to a Job Offer

    In this difficult economy, receiving a job offer is usually a cause for great celebration. For an executive, it can take months or longer to find a position that is truly a perfect fit. However, even after finding that supposedly perfect fit, many executives contact us because of the problems that quickly arise after they accept an otherwise promising job offer. Those job offers themselves ...
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  • 7 Clues You May Be Fired

    No matter how hard you work or how good you are, there will always be someone out there that doesn’t like you, your style or your work product. Identifying the signs of when a bad relationship at work is moving towards the end of your employment can allow you to prepare and, in some cases, prolong and protect your employment. Below are 7 signs that you might need to start planning and ...
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  • The Five Clauses Every Professional Should Have in His/Her Employment Agreement

    Your salary may be the first thing you think of when negotiating your Employment Contract, but it should not be the only thing. All terms of your employment should be clear in the agreement. Some terms may be more industry specific (i.e. insurance requirements, hours, responsibilities), but others can be critical to your future security. The following five are applicable to every professional ...
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  • A Word About Words.

    JT O’Donnell, of Careerrealism.com, recently posted a query from a reader regarding non-disparagement clauses. The reader asked whether clauses prohibiting an employee from saying anything negative about an employer in exchange for a severance payment were legal. (Yes…absolutely!) She went on to ask what would happen if the employee agreed and later made what he thought was an innocent statement ...
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  • Physician Non-Competes: Are they still enforceable in Illinois?

    Most of the large teaching hospitals are moving away from including broad non-competes in their Physician Employment Agreements, but private practice groups are becoming more creative in drafting enforceable non-competes. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of litigation over physician non-competes in Illinois. Yet many doctors still come to our office with the belief that non-competes ...
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