In 2019 and 2020, Illinois has had significant changes in the laws governing the workplace. Employers can be hit with serious legal consequences for ignoring these major changes in laws governing the workplace.
Workplace Legal Changes Effective in 2019
- Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) – Went into effect on January 1, 2019 – grants greater protection to our service members who leave civilian employment to serve our Nation and the State of Illinois.
- Reimbursement of Employee Expenses – Went into effect on January 1, 2019 – requires employers to reimburse employee expenses, items like cellular phones, cellular data service fees, home computers and internet provider fees for employees who are expected to work remotely and more travel expenses.
- Illinois No Salary History law – Went into effect on September 29, 2019. It is unlawful for an employer to seek the wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, unless permitted by the Freedom of Information Act, or applicant is already employed by the inquiring employer.
Workplace Legal Changes Effective in 2020
- Illinois Equitable Restroom Act – Went into effect on January 1, 2020 - mandates that all single-occupancy restrooms “in a place of public accommodation or public building” to be identified as “all-gender and designated for use by no more than one person at a time or for family or assisted use…” and “[e]ach single-occupancy restroom shall be outfitted with exterior signage that marks the single-occupancy restroom as a restroom and does not indicate any specific gender.”
- Workplace Transparency Act – Went into effect on January 1, 2020 - prohibiting certain confidentiality clauses in sexual harassment settlement agreements.
- Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act – Went into effect on January 1, 2020, requiring additional protections to employees who work alone and require affirmative written anti-sexual harassment policies that protect employees against harassment.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements amending the Illinois Human Rights Act – Went into effect on January 1, 2020 and must comply by December 31, 2020, to require that employers provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees.
- Arbitration Clause Restrictions – Went into effect on January 1, 2020, placing limitations on agreements to arbitrate sexual harassment claims and providing a rebuttable presumption that some standard arbitration clauses are unconscionable, such as limitations on venue, waivers of rights, limiting the time that employees may bring a claim, limits on damages and fee shifting provisions.
- Mandatory Disclosures – effective July 1, 2020, employers must make annual disclosures to the IDHR with information about adverse judgments or administrative rulings against them in the prior year. requiring that employers provide formal disclosures to the Illinois Department of Human Rights in 2020 where the employer has had at least one adverse determination of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination in the prior year.
This year will see an increase in claims based on employers failing to take the steps necessary to comply with Illinois’ strengthened employee rights laws.