On June 2, 2019, the Illinois General Assembly approved the Workplace Transparency Act providing certain protections concerning sexual harassment in the workplace and imposing significant new obligations on Illinois Employers. This Bill was signed into law by Governor Pritzker in June 2019 and the provision of the new bill become effective January 1, 2020.
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.
On February 15, 2019, a proposed bill was introduced in the Illinois House by State Representative Ann M. Williams. This legislation is called the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act. As of March 29, 2019, this bill is pending before the Rules Committee.
It remains an unfortunate, though persistent, stereotype in our society that women who advance in the workplace, especially those who do so rapidly and have a male superior, do so not by merit, but rather, because of a sexual relationship with their superior. In other words, they only obtained the position because they are "sleeping with the boss." When such false rumors and gossip persist - and are even advanced by other managers, can they form the basis of a claim for sex discrimination? The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals just determined that they can.
On June 8, 2018 and August 24, 2018 respectively, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a number of amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act which in the State of Illinois regulates discrimination claims due to a protected category, disability or sexual harassment claims.
Last month I wrote that conduct that is sexual in nature does not necessarily constitute sexual harassment unless it is directed at a person because of his or her sex. But what about conduct that is not necessarily sexual in nature, but really creepy? In other words, can stalking be considered sexual harassment, even if it is not overtly sexual? If so, can an employer be liable when a customer or some other third party is doing the stalking? In a recent case involving Costco, the Seventh Circuit unequivocally found that it can and was.
Wait, what? If the conduct directed at an employee is sexual in nature or has sexual connotations, doesn't that automatically make it unlawful sexual harassment? Not necessarily.
On Friday, August 10, 2018, Governor Rauner signed two new legislative measures in the attempt to end sex harassment at the Capitol and elsewhere.
There has been so much written lately both in gossip columns and legal (and standard) news about sex harassment in the workplace. Employers are understandably quite nervous about dating among co-workers. Can it lead to lawsuits? When does it deteriorate to sex harassment? What should an employer do?
With the ever increasing coverage and commentary regarding sexual harassment issues (even Speaker Mike Madigan's office recently) there have been two (2) very interesting developments in the arena of sexual harassment/sexual abuse that Employers should be aware of.