Taking the Confusion Out of Common Injury and Estate Planning Worries: Answers to Your Frequent Questions

The most important job for any attorney is making sure that his client understands every aspect of her case. Although some lawyers are comfortable keeping their clients in the dark, we feel that you deserve more. You deserve to have all of your questions and concerns addressed in order to pursue your own case confidently and successfully. This is why we take the initiative to answer common questions that you may have even before you even step into our office. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact our office at 855-522-5291.

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  • Can I Be Fired for a Post on Social Media?

    Beginning January 1, 2017, employers will be further limited in what online information they can seek from their employees. This is part of an ongoing effort by the Illinois legislature to codify and define privacy rights both in and out of the workplace.

    The updated law prevents employers from seeking certain information regarding their employees’ social media and online presence.

    Employers need to be aware of the updated law, as violations can result in fines, attorneys’ fees, and actual damages. The overarching theme of the new law is that employers cannot force employees to hand over social media account information. This includes passwords, usernames, Twitter or Instagram handles, groups joined or information posted—namely, anything related to an employee’s social media account that is not in the public domain. Even if an employer inadvertently stumbles upon an employee’s social media account passwords or usernames, or any other information that would give them access to the employee’s social media account, the employer cannot use it. In addition, as may be obvious, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for refusing to hand over social media account information.

    The only exception to the rule is also an obvious one—if the employer’s need for the social media account information is related to a valid investigation into an employee’s violation of law or workplace rule, then the investigation should be allowed to proceed despite the above prohibitions. 

    Of course, this law is still subject to the “you have no privacy rights at work” principle. If you do get on social media at work, your employer can gain access to whatever it is you have been doing. So, employers beware and employees be aware. Employers should stay away from the social media questions during interviews and not seek access to any online account unless pursuant to a valid investigation.

    Employees, you have a right to withhold your personal social media accounts from your employer, unless you are using them at work. 

  • Does a contract have to be written to be valid in Illinois?

    Many clients assume that a contract must be in writing to be valid in Illinois. This is not always the case.

    In fact, much of the time, an oral agreement can be considered a legally binding contract. There are three main special circumstances to this rule.These circumstances are part of the Statute of Frauds that says that, because of the possibility of abuse in certain situations, a contract must be in writing in order to be valid.

    The three special circumstaces are: 

    1. The sale of "real property." Real property is property that cannot be moved- for example, your house or land.

    2. The sale of something for $500 or more. You should always have a written contract for something that costs $500 or more.

    3. A contract that takes more than a year to complete. For example, a 2-year employment contract would certainly need to be in writing.

    For more information on legal contracts in Illinois, check out this video from Attorney Andrew Koester.