Illinois Anti-harassment Bill Creates New Requirements for Employers

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Franczek P.C.

[co-author: Amanda Mehr]*

Earlier this week, on June 2, 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed SB75, which creates three new laws and amends a number of others to increase protection for employees who are victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual violence, and gender violence. This legislation aligns with Governor Pritzker’s campaign promise to address these issues in the wake of the #MeToo movement. We expect Governor Pritzker to sign the bill into law soon. Over the next week, we will take an in depth dive into SB75 with alerts on the newly-created laws and the amendments to existing laws. For now, we highlight the biggest changes proposed by SB75.

SB75, when signed, will require the following changes:

  • All employers in Illinois to provide annual training to employees aimed at preventing sexual harassment.
  • Hotel and casino employers will be required to provide emergency alert devices (commonly referred to as “panic buttons”) to employees who work alone in guest rooms, restrooms, or on casino floors under a new Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act.
  • The newly-created Workplace Transparency Act restricts the use of confidentiality provisions in employment contracts, settlement, agreements, and termination agreements in which employees release claims of harassment or discrimination. The Act also restricts the use of agreements requiring employees to arbitrate harassment and discrimination claims.
  • Under the new Sexual Harassment Victim Representation Act, a union would be prohibited from assigning the same representative to a victim of sexual harassment who accuses a member of his or her union to also represent the alleged perpetrator of the harassment.
  • Tthe Illinois Victims Economic Security and Safety Act will expand to protect employees who experience “gender violence.”

Most provisions of the new law will take effect on January 1, 2020. The Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act goes into effect on July 1, 2020. Look for further alerts with more information on the new substantive requirements of the law.

 

*Law Student, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Franczek LEADS Fellow.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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