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Small Businesses Reopening As of today June 26, Illinois has reached Stage 4 of coronavirus reopening, which allows essentially all types of businesses to reopen provided they observe public health safety guidance and capacity limits, with no more than 50 people allowed in one place. What does this mean for businesses, and how can they protect themselves—and their employees and customers—medically, financially and legally? Continue reading
How concerned should small businesses be about wrongful discharge lawsuits from plaintiffs terminated after alleging publicly that their employer did not follow health and safety guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19? The first clues may emerge from one of the first employment lawsuits related to the pandemic, filed in late May in Dallas County, Iowa. The plaintiff is a former county jail employee who called a hotline set up by the Department of Corrections…
For the first time to our knowledge a judge has ordered rent relief for a Chicago restaurant.   The bankruptcy judge ruled that the “Act of God” clause in the lease gives the restaurant rent relief when it was forced to closed during the the COVID-19 mandatory closings. CoronaVirus FAQs The force majeure clause in the lease of Italian restaurant Giglio’s State Street Tavern eliminated the restaurant’s obligation to pay full rent during the time when…
Employment Issues in the Pandemic Employees who decline to show up to a physical work location based on a city, state or doctor’s coronavirus-related health order are protected from employer retaliation under a newly passed City of Chicago ordinance. Chicago-based businesses, defined as those with physical facilities in the city, or subject to its licensing requirements, must not take adverse actions against any employee following the  COVID-19 dictates of the Chicago mayor, city Department of…
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order on April 1 designed to protect health care providers from litigation arising out of COVID-19 cases. How does it do so, and how well would it work in practice if a lawsuit were filed?  The Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act notes that statewide public health emergencies require “an enormous response” from different levels of governments working alongside private and public health care providers. As such, the…
CoronaVirus FAQs Business owners are anxious to reopen their doors and revive their sales.  But there are concerns that the proper precautions be taken to protect their employees and customers, at a time when no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 appears imminent. As governors and mayors begin to ease restrictions on businesses, previously shuttered retailers, restaurants and others have another concern that could hold them back from reopening just as surely: whether and to what…
Cyber Security Issues while working remotely. Does your cyber liability insurance cover data breaches that occur while employees are working at home, using their personal devices such as tablets and laptops? There’s no time like the present to look into this issue, with most employees telecommuting and hackers perhaps sensing new opportunities to do what they do—and in fact, cyber intrusions have been on the upswing in recent weeks. Continue reading
Business FAQs about the COVID-19 Pandemic Small and medium-sized businesses with up to 500 employees are required to provide employees with up to 14 weeks of leave, most of which must be paid, for circumstances related to COVID-19, under a pair of temporary pieces of legislation that passed Congress last month. Starting April 2 and through December 31, 2020, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires that employers provide up to 12 weeks…
Chicago area business owners are facing a number of challenges and the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the viability of their business.   Here are some of the more frequently questions asked by business owners. Do I have to close my business? As of March 30 over half of Americans were under “stay at home” orders in 24 states and the District of Columbia in addition to several other major cities and local areas.  Four states have…