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 May 21, 2018, in a 5-4 majority decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis ruled that employers can require as a condition of employment that workers waive their rights to participate in class action lawsuits by entering into a mandatory arbitration clause in their employment agreement. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion which sided with businesses whose employment contracts include mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent class action lawsuits. The Court ruled that workers who have signed agreements with these types of clauses included in the document must pursue their claims individually and not as part of a class action. The Court's ruling strengthens employers' arguments that employment contracts that impose mandatory arbitration clauses regarding disputes of any kind do not violate their employees' constitutional rights. Many businesses impose mandatory arbitration clauses that specifically forbid class action lawsuits. With this most recent ruling it is estimated that companies will increasingly use these types of clauses to limit their liability exposure.