As the #MeToo movement continues to sweep the country, on August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Illinois Senate Bill 75 (now Public Act 101-0221) which will mandate statewide sexual harassment training for employers in Illinois and add other obligations and restrictions aimed at curbing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Taking effect in just a few short months, the Act will require at least some policy, practice, and/or contracts revisions by virtually all Illinois employers.

Substantively, Senate Bill 75 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) in numerous significant ways, and enacts the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) and Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act.

Unless otherwise noted, these amendments and new laws take effect January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training and Other Sweeping #MeToo Protections to Take Effect in Illinois

Last week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law several amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that are certain to have wide-ranging impacts. Most significantly, Illinois will join the growing number of states that prohibit employers from asking about or considering a job applicant’s prior salary history when making hiring decisions. The amendments will also modify an exception to the equal pay requirement that, in certain circumstances, allows employers to pay different wages to employees who work substantially similar jobs, and the amendments will expand the types and amounts of damages that are available for equal pay violations.

The new laws take effect on September 29, 2019, leaving little time for employers to adjust. Here’s what you need to know.
Continue Reading Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act

The haze of Springfield’s recent legislative session has cleared, and Illinois has become the latest state poised to legalize marijuana. Like many other businesses throughout the country, Illinois employers will be faced with the complexity of enforcing their drug and substance abuse policies while their employees have the legal right to use marijuana outside of the workplace.
Continue Reading Weeding Out the Issues of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

Illinois recently joined the growing list of states and municipalities that have enacted “Ban the Box” legislation imposing restrictions on employers’ ability to inquire into applicants’ criminal history. Illinois law already restricts inquiries and employment decisions regarding sealed and expunged criminal records and arrest history. Under the new Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which takes effect January 1, 2015, employers of 15 or more employees and employment agencies will be prohibited from inquiring into or considering any criminal records or criminal history in the initial application process. For the text of the statute, click here.
Continue Reading Illinois’ New “Ban the Box” Law Restricts Criminal History Inquiries of Applicants

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled unenforceable an Illinois “fair share” law that requires in-home health care service providers to pay union fees. Harris v. Quinn, 573 U.S. ____ (2014). The Court described the petitioners as “partial public employees,” and therefore, compelling them to pay fees to a union that they did not wish to join or support violated their First Amendment rights.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Blocks Union Dues Requirement for Illinois In-Home Health Care Providers

Illinois has been among the strictest of the “eavesdropping” states in prohibiting the secret recording of conversations without all parties’ consent. Many states have a “one-party consent” rule, under which it is permissible to record a conversation as long as at least one party (typically the recording party) consents. In Illinois, however, under Section 14-2 of the Illinois Criminal Code, individuals who knowingly use an eavesdropping device to record or intercept another’s conversation could be guilty of a felony. Because of this law, with its “two-party” consent rule, Illinois employers, for the most part, have been able to maintain their workplaces free from concern over the recording of management conversations.
Continue Reading Illinois Eavesdropping Law Struck Down as Unconstitutional

This Alert highlights certain federal law developments as well as those occurring in Illinois, California, New York and Georgia that will affect employers in 2014. No significant employment-related statutory developments are to take effect in 2014 in Michigan or Washington, DC.
Continue Reading 2014 Legislative Developments

Late Wednesday, before a gathering of over 2000 people at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, Governor Pat Quinn officially signed the recently passed Illinois “marriage equality act” into law. Under the Illinois Constitution, because the law was passed after May 31 without a supermajority, it will not take effect until June 1, 2014.

When it takes effect next June, the Act repeals the same-sex marriage ban in Section 213.1 of the Illinois Marriage Act and provides that all laws of Illinois applicable to marriage (whether the laws derive from statute, administrative rule, court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law) “shall apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children.” Act, Sec.10(a). The Act specifically commands that the parties to a marriage and their children “shall have all the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law.” Act, Sec. 10(b). The Act contains a “mini-Dictionary Act” including same-sex and different-sex marriage partners in all definitions or uses of terms for “spouse” or “family” or synonyms for such terms. Act, Sec. 10(c).
Continue Reading Illinois Joins Growing Cadre of States Recognizing Marriage Equality

Employers in construction and landscaping industries should be aware that on July 23, 2013, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed two bills that add significant teeth to enforcement under the Illinois Employee Misclassification Act (the Act). The Act imposes penalties upon those employers that improperly misclassify employees as independent contractors. Gov. Quinn estimates that the State of Illinois loses upwards of $700 million in payroll and other employment-related taxes as a result of this misclassification.

House Bill 923 (Public Act 98-0105) will require contractors in the construction industry to report to the Illinois Department of Labor all payments made to any individual, sole proprietor or partnership not classified as an employee for work performed for the contractor. Such payments must be reported to the Department on or before January 31 following the taxable year in which the work was performed. The report must include the name, address and federal employer identification number of each individual, sole proprietor, or partnership performing the work, as well as for the contractor for whom the work was performed. Payments for the provision of equipment and materials must also be included in the report. The amount of the payments will be confidential and exempt from public disclosure, but the names, addresses and FEIN’s of the contractor, individual, sole proprietor or partnership contained in the reports will be subject to disclosure pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Continue Reading Amendments to Illinois Employee Misclassification Act to Affect Construction and Landscaping Companies