Protecting Employers Since 1985

Labor Law Developments In 2020

Both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have been very active in creating new Employment Law Employer Responsibilities in Calendar 2020:

Model Training Program for Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention:

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has released its Model Training Program for the prevention of Sexual Harassment. Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, Illinois Employers are required to provide annual Sexual Harassment Prevention Training to all Employees employed in the State of Illinois by December 31, 2020 and, thereafter, to provide the training on an annual basis.

Employers can use the Illinois Department of Human Rights Model Program and procure that Program through the website of the Illinois Department of Human Rights or develop their own training program which must include:

  1. An explanation of sexual harassment and
  2. Examples of unlawful conduct and
  3. A summary of the relevant Federal and State Laws including available remedies and
  4. A summary of the Employer’s responsibilities for preventing, investigating and correcting sexual harassment.

It is strongly recommended that Employers use the Illinois Department of Human Rights Model Program.

Guidelines for Workplace Transparency Act Reporting Requirements:

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has recently issued guidance for Employers on the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act reporting requirements which specifically require that Employers with at least one (1) adverse judgment or administrative ruling, must disclose to the Illinois Department of Human Rights total number of final and non-appealable judgments or rulings against an Employer in which there is a finding of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination. This requirement applies to any Employer employing one (1) or more Employees in the State of Illinois and requires that for calendar 2019, the reporting date is October 31, 2020 and for subsequent years, the reporting requirement is July 1. It should also be noted that an Employer does not have to have a physical presence in the State of Illinois to be subject to reporting requirement–only that Employees are employed in the State of Illinois and judgments and rulings that occur outside of the State of Illinois must also be reported.

Illinois Human Rights Act Application:

Effective July 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act applies to an “Employer” who is defined as a person employing one (1) or more Employees within the State of Illinois during a period of twenty (20) or more calendar work weeks within a calendar year. The previous definition, prior to July 1, 2020, was that an Employer must have employed fifteen (15) or more Employees. The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in Employment, Financial Credit, Public Accommodations and Real Estate transactions on the basis of race; color; religion; sex, including sexual harassment; national origin; ancestry; military status; age (40 and above); order of protection status; marital status; sexual orientation; including gender-related identity; unfavorable military discharge and physical and mental disability.

Chicago’s Fair Work Week Ordinance:

Effective July 1, 2020, Large Employers [generally one hundred (100) or more Employees globally] are required to provide workers with at least two (2) weeks’ notice of their schedules and compensate Employees for last minute changes under the Chicago Fair Work Week Ordinance. This Ordinance applies to the following industries: building services; healthcare; hotels; manufacturing; restaurants; retail and warehouse services and applies to Employees who make less than $26.00 per hour or $50,000 per year. The Ordinance requires:

  1. Ten (10) calendar days advanced notice of work schedule changes;
  2. Right to decline previously unscheduled hours;
  3. One (1) hour of predictability pay for any shift change that occurs within ten (10) calendar days;
  4. Right to rest by declining work hours that are provided less than ten (10) hours after the end of the previous day shift or the payment of 1.25 times the Employer’s regular rate for all hours worked in the shift; and
  5. Fifty (50%) percent pay for all hours removed from the schedule with less than twenty-four (24) hours’ notice.

There are extensive penalties for violation of the Ordinance (monetary penalties of not less than $300 and not more than $500 for each offense per day per Employee).

Chicago COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance:

A COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance has been passed by the City of Chicago City Council that applies to all Employers that maintain a business facility within the City of Chicago’s geographic boundaries or who are subject to at least one (1) of the City of Chicago licensing requirements.

The Ordinance protects Employees from any adverse Employment action when they stay at home to obey public health orders and/or comply with a healthcare providers order to stay at home and/or stay at home to care for other individuals who have been ordered to stay at home.

Employers who violate the Ordinance are subject to actions that may be taken by the Commissioner of the City’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and also for a civil action filed by the aggrieved Employee which can provide to the aggrieved Employee reinstatement to the same or a similar position and damages equal to three (3) times the full amount of wages lost and if greater, actual damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

Questions? Contact Attorney Walter J. Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at waliszka@wesselssherman.com

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