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Alert: Pending Legislation in Illinois Would Impose Huge Impact on Sexual Harassment Claims on all Employers

On April 11, 2019, the Illinois state Senate passed Senate Bill 1829, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act. If passed by the Illinois House of Representatives and if signed by the Governor, this Act would impose new requirements and limitations with respect to harassment and discrimination claims on Illinois employers. As of May 10, 2019, this bill is pending before the House Rules Committee.

What would the Workplace Transparency Act REQUIRE?

  • It would prevent employers from including sexual harassment claims in employment contracts with non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
  • Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, arbitration clauses in an employment contract could not include harassment and discrimination claims, however, it would be allowable in settlement agreements.
  • Any employer would be required to report on an annual basis to the Illinois Human Rights Department any settlement, adverse judgement or administrative ruling against the employer as to a discrimination or harassment claim.
  • It would require sexual harassment training of employees on an annual basis.
  • It would expand protections under the Illinois Human Rights Act to non-employees (i.e., independent contractors).
  • It would amend the Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act to include sexual harassment as a basis for leave.

This is not yet law in Illinois. Illinois employers are now just being put “on notice” that the above changes may be required by law in the near future if the bill is signed into law.

If you have any questions, please contact attorney Anthony J. Caruso, Jr., Esq. at (630) 377-1554 or by email at ancaruso@wesselssherman.com.

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