Illinois: Harassment and Discrimination Updates for Employers

APPLIES TO

Certain Employers with IL Employees, as indicated

EFFECTIVE

January 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Illinois’s legislature passed SB 75 and HB 252 providing increased protections against workplace harassment and discrimination. Key components are summarized below.

Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)

HB 252 revised the IHRA to apply to employers with at least one employee, rather than the current standard of 15 or more. However, it excludes “places of worship” from the definition of “employer.”

SB 75 adds new disclosure and sexual harassment training requirements to the IHRA.  Employers will now need to provide the following:

  • Disclosure Requirement: Effective July 1, 2020, and every July 1 thereafter, employers who have at least one adverse judgment or ruling against it during the preceding calendar year must disclose certain information to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The employer must report the total number of final, non-appealable judgments or administrative rulings involving sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, among other detailed information.
  • Training Requirement: Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training annually.  The Department of Human Rights will create a model training program that employers may use to meet this requirement, or employers can develop their own training.
    • Employers of restaurants and bars must also:
      • Provide a written sexual harassment policy in English and Spanish to employees within their first week of employment; and
      • Develop a supplemental training program that addresses sexual harassment and issues specific to the restaurant and bar industry. The Department will also create a model supplemental training program that employers may make use of.

Sexual Harassment Victim Representation Act (SHVRA)

Under the new SHVRA, in the event a union member is sexually harassed by another union member, the victim must be designated a different union representative than the accused for any proceeding.

Workplace Transparency Act (WTA)

The WTA prohibits employers from utilizing any contract, agreement, clause, covenant, waiver, or other document that restricts employees from reporting allegations of unlawful conduct to a federal, state, or local official.  Further, agreements that require employees to waive or arbitrate existing or future claims of unlawful employment practices as a condition of employment will be unenforceable.  Few exceptions apply:

  • Employers with existing arbitration agreements in place will be permitted to sever non-compliant language from the agreement.
  • Employers may negotiate arbitration agreements with individuals in exchange for consideration, plus acknowledgment of the employee’s right to report on unlawful or criminal conduct, participate in proceedings, make truthful statements or disclosures, and request or receive legal advice.

Employers can still require confidentiality related to unlawful employment practices in settlement or termination agreements under certain conditions.

Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act (HCESA)

Effective July 1, 2020, the HCESA requires employers in hotel and casino industries to provide employees who work alone with a “panic button” at no cost to the employee.  The “panic button” can be utilized by employees to alert someone else if the employee is in danger of being sexually assaulted or harassed.  Additionally, covered employers must develop a written anti-sexual harassment policy protecting employees from unlawful conduct by customers and patrons.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of SB 75 here and HB 252 here.
  2. Have employment and arbitration agreements reviewed by legal counsel for compliance with the new laws.
  3. Prepare for new training requirements in 2020.
  4. Have sexual harassment policies updated for compliance.
  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

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *