As we all wend our way through this difficult period, employment issues and disputes arise for both employers and their employees in a number of fields, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical employees and employers in Lake County, Illinois are dealing with a number of complex problems relative to employment law and many are happy to have the excellent legal skills of ST Legal Group at their disposal.
Lead attorney Diana Taylor is uniquely qualified to serve the needs of pharmaceutical proprietors or staff members, having worked successfully with both. She has an in-depth understanding of their varying perspectives on the risks and difficult decisions that impact them, their careers, and their families.
What ST Legal Can Offer Pharmaceutical Employees That Other Employment Law Firms Cannot
Diana Taylor’s impressive credentials and strong skill set give her an edge when it comes to serving the pharmaceutical community of Lake County, a community that is being hard hit by the repercussions of the COVID pandemic and the political unrest that is also sweeping the world.
Diana is more than an excellent employment attorney; she is a caring individual who will provide you with the personal attention and respect you deserve. Because she runs a small practice and works with both employers and employees, she is an agile negotiator and a strategic litigator.
Whether you are an employer who feels caught between a rock and a hard place or an employee who feels that you are being treated unfairly, getting in touch with Diana is a wise step toward resolution and peace of mind.
Lake County Pharmaceutical Employment Issues that Employees Face
Though the following issues affect workers, managers, and CEOs throughout Illinois and the country, they are particularly intense in Lake County because we house so many pharmaceutical companies. These issues include:
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Employment
The question hanging over vaccination requirements at places of business is: Can an employer demand that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19? Though you may be surprised to hear it, the answer is generally Yes.
Because Illinois, like most other states, is an “at-will” employment state, employers can terminate their employees for any reason, except one that violates anti-discrimination laws. This is especially true in healthcare companies in which unvaccinated employees may put patients or customers at increased risk. Nonetheless, there may be conflicts with religious beliefs or individual health care concerns if, for example, the employee:
- Is immuno-suppressed by disease or medical treatments
- Is a member of a religion that doesn’t allow vaccination
- Has had a severe negative reaction to a past vaccination
- Is disabled and will not be able to deal safely with any vaccination side effects
If these facts can be proven, the employer must make reasonable accommodations, such as requiring the employee to work in an isolated area, wear a mask, or maintain a safe distance from other staff members.
As you can probably guess, this is where the situation becomes complicated, requiring intervention by a professional with a clear understanding of legal nuance. Diana Taylor is up to the task, aware of judicial decisions on which exceptions may be based.
Why Many Employers Do Not Want to Require Vaccinations of Their Employees
Although legally entitled to do so, a good number of employers (in healthcare companies as well as in unrelated industries) are reluctant to demand that their staff be vaccinated. Because all ramifications of vaccinations cannot be determined until more time passes, employers may be wary of mandating the shots.
Even the slimmest chance that the decision may backfire, resulting in costly future lawsuits, is enough to discourage many employers from taking the financial risk. Besides, we have all seen medical messaging, even from the CDC and WHO, change course in recent months.
Insistence that Pharmaceutical Employees Return to Their Workplaces Instead of Working Remotely
From its headquarters in North Chicago, global drug company AbbVie has told employees that their physical presence at the office is a “critical part” of the enterprise. Several employees, however, reported that they felt unsafe, pressured to return to a possibly dangerous commute or hazardous workplace.
Clearly, because many state and federal laws forbid employment discrimination, employers must be able to substantiate that any decisions they make regarding disbursement or denial of benefits and bonuses, promotions or demotions, hiring or firing cannot be based on any discriminatory classifications, such as:
- Age (40 or over)
- National origin or ancestry
- Sexual orientation or identity
- Pregnancy, childbirth, nursing status
- Physical or mental disability
Many of these classifications and how they will affect vaccination status are not as clear-cut as one might hope. For example, suppose a pregnant woman fears that receiving the COVID-19 vaccination will make a difficult pregnancy even more problematic or an employee of color feels he is being singled out to provide proof of vaccination.
Complicating things further is the fact that the EEOC states that if the employer can prove that an unvaccinated employee poses a “direct threat” to the workplace, accommodations must be made — e.g. letting the employee take a leave of absence or continue to work remotely.
At ST Legal, we recommend that our clients be proactive. When so much is in flux, it’s a good idea to have us review any employment agreements, particularly severance agreements that are now in force or that they plan to sign in the future.
Whether you are an employee who lost a job during the pandemic or an employer who had to lay off employees or close up shop, Diana Taylor can help you sort things out. Whether you are starting a new job or business or firing up after a year of turmoil, it’s important to verify that severance pay, benefits, non-compete clauses, etc. are all as you want them to be.
Whichever end of a disciplinary action you’re on, you may be uncomfortable. If you are an employee, you may feel that the discipline is too punitive, undeserved, or evidence of discrimination. If you are an employer, you may feel that you are being too strict, too lenient, or you may simply be ill-at-ease having to take an authoritative role.
Though it is also possible that you feel just fine and there is no dispute involved, if there is any problem involving disciplinary actions at the workplace, Diana Taylor is here to help. Discipline in regard to violations of COVID-19 regulations are especially tricky, so it’s smart to turn to a professional to iron things out.
Contact ST Legal for Any Employment Issues, Pharmaceutical or Otherwise
Whether you are an employer or an employee, Diana Taylor is on your side. She will pay close attention to gain insight into your perspective and is always available to help you resolve employment issues, in or out of the courtroom.