House Bill 8, now Public Act 098-1050, was recently signed by Governor Pat Quinn. As we reported in June of this year, the resulting amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act expand upon the anti-discrimination protections afforded expectant mothers in the workplace.
When the law takes effect on January 1, 2015, all Illinois employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants experiencing “pregnancy, childbirth or related or common conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.” An employer may deny a reasonable accommodation only if it can prove that the requested accommodation presents an undue hardship to the employer's ordinary business operations. It will be unlawful to discriminate or retaliate against an employee or applicant for requesting an accommodation. The new law also precludes employers from forcing an employee to accept an accommodation that she did not request, or to take leave from work if another accommodation is available that would permit the employee to continue working.
All employers with operations in Illinois are advised to update their policies and practices to comply with the new law no later than January 1, 2015.