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Significant New Duties on the Horizon for Illinois Employers

Nicholas J. Golding, Labor and Employment Law Attorney, KDDK

Nicholas J. Golding, Attorney

Mark A. McAnulty, Partner

By Mark McAnulty and Nick Golding

Illinois is expected to adopt the proposed Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”), a sweeping new law imposing significant additional duties upon Illinois employers.

The Act passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and was sent on June 10 to Governor Pritzker, who is expected to sign the Act into law.  Once adopted, the Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Intended to protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace, the Act will place limitations on employers who want employees to sign confidentiality and nondisclosure policies or agreements that prevent disclosure of harassment in the workplace.

The Act would also ban employers from unilaterally mandating arbitration of harassment and discrimination claims.

The Act would allow employees to recover their attorneys’ fees and costs if successful in challenging a contract in violation of the new law.

The following are also among the Act’s most notable changes:

  • Employers must provide annual sexual harassment training for employees. Employers who fail to provide such training can be penalized.
  • The Illinois Human Rights Act will be extended to protect non-employees, such as independent contractors and consultants, from harassment.
  • The Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act will be amended to include sexual harassment as a basis for taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to receive treatment.
  • Employers will be required to annually report adverse judgments and rulings involving alleged sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination to the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Employers should take steps to update company policies and procedures to comply with these changes before they go into effect on January 1, 2020.   For assistance in complying with these new requirements, contact either Mark McAnulty, Nick Golding, or any member of the KDDK Labor and Employment Law Practice Team.

 

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