Illinois: Amended Act Expands Equal Pay Protection, Bans Salary History Inquiries


All Employers with IL Employees


September 29, 2019


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(888) 378-2456

HB 834 amends and expands upon the existing Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA), incorporating new, important changes for employers.  The amendments include changes to equal pay provisions, anti-retaliation protections, and a prohibition on salary history inquiries.

Equal Pay Provisions.

  • Previously, the IEPA followed closely behind the Federal Equal Pay Act, requiring employers to provide equal compensation to individuals performing “substantially similar” work, regardless of sex or race. The amended IEPA changes this terminology to “substantially equal” skill, effort, and responsibility.
  • Previously, the IEPA provided four exemptions that permitted a wage differential. These exemptions permitted wage differentials based on a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity/quality of production, or any factor or than sex or race.  With the amended IEPA, the fourth exemption applies only when the factor causing the wage differential is (a) not based on sex, race, or any other protected category, (b) is job-related to the position, (c) is consistent with business necessity, and (d) accounts for the entire differential.

Anti-Retaliation Protections.

  • The IEPA prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees who discuss their own or other employees’ wages. The amended IEPA further prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign agreements that prohibit them from disclosing or discussing their own compensation information.  Positions that have access to others’ wage information (such as human resources employees, supervisors, or payroll staff) may be exempt from this rule.  Employers may prohibit workers in these roles from disclosing others’ wage information unless prior written consent is obtained.
  • Employees may now seek additional compensatory damages in civil actions related to underpayment claims under certain circumstances.

Salary History Inquiries

  • Employers and their agents will now be prohibited from screening applicants based on salary history, requiring salary history information to be provided as a condition of being interviewed or considered for a job, or otherwise requiring applicants to disclose salary history as a condition of employment.
  • Employers may not seek salary history information from the current or former employers of an applicant unless the salary information is public record.
  • Employers are permitted to disclose compensation or benefits information for a position to an applicant, and applicants can discuss their own expectations for compensation. Applicants may also voluntarily disclose salary information, but employers should not use voluntarily disclosures as the determining factor in making the job offer or determining compensation offered.

Action Items

  1. Review the bill here.
  2. Have an audit conducted of employee job descriptions and compensation rates to confirm compliance with the new regulations.
  3. Have employment applications and hiring processes updated to remove any request for salary history information.
  4. Have hiring managers trained on pre-hire interview procedures.
  5. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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