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Executive Director
Employment Law Council


Constitutional Officers and Legislators Sworn In

Yesterday, JB Pritzker and Julianna Stratton were sworn in as Illinois' new Governor and Lt. Governor, respectively. Other statewide constitutional officers that took office are: Kwame Raoul (Attorney General); Jesse White (Secretary of State); Susanna Mendoza (Comptroller); and Mike Frerichs (Treasurer).

Key leadership positions in the new Pritzker administration include:

Anna Caprara, Chief of Staff
Dan Hynes, Deputy Governor/Budget & Economic Development
Christian Mitchell, Deputy Governor/Infrastructure
Jesse Ruiz, Deputy Governor/Education
Ann Spillane, General Counsel
Sean Rapelyea, Deputy Chief of Staff for External Affairs
Emily Bittner, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications
Tiffany Newbern-Johnson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs
Agency Directorships announced thus far:
Erin Guthrie, Director of Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO)
David Harris, Director of Revenue
John Sullivan, Director of Agriculture
Janel Forde, Director of Central Management Services
Theresa Eagleson, Director of Department of Healthcare & Family Services
Last week, Illinois lawmakers gathered in Springfield to convene the 101st General Assembly. As expected, John Cullerton was elected Senate President and Michael Madigan was elected to his 18th term as Speaker of the House. Bill Brady continues as the Senate Republican leader and Jim Durkin will continue in the same role on the House.

New Legislative Proposal to Limit Arbitration Clauses for Sexual Harassment

The following legislation was developed following a number of public hearings held by a bipartisan, Senate Task Force in 2018. A final report of the task force is being worked upon and should be submitted to the public soon.
SB 30 ,  sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake)  creates the Workplace Transparency Act . It provides that employers are prohibited from requiring an employee or prospective employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement that contains any provision that has the purpose or effect of: limiting the disclosure of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; suppressing information relevant to an investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; impairing the ability of any person to report a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; or waiving a substantive or procedural right or remedy of any person relating to a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination. Any such provision is void as against public policy and unenforceable, and that agreements that contain such provisions and were entered into before the effective date of the Act are voidable by a party who entered into the agreement under specified circumstances. The measure is pending in the Senate Committee on Assignments.
SB 38, also sponsored by Sen. Bush makes a number of changes related to sex harassment issues:
  • Creates the Sexual Harassment No Contact Order Act, which provides for the issuance of a sexual harassment no contact order under specified circumstances. Adds provisions relating to proceedings to obtain, modify, vacate, or extend any sexual harassment no contact order. 
  • Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to create the offense of violation of a sexual harassment no contact order. Makes conforming changes in the Protective Orders Article of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. 
  • Amends the Code of Civil Procedure to limit nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment settlements. 
  • Amends the Illinois Human Rights Act.
    • adds to the definition of "employee"   a contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant, or other person providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace;  
    • adds procedures following an employer's failure to post required notices; and
    • adds extensive employer disclosure requirements to the Department of Human Rights of any settlement agreements related to the protections provided under the Act. 
  • Creates the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act requiring hotels and casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make panic buttons available to certain employees. 
  • Amends the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to prohibit nondisclosure agreements between employers and low-wage employees. 
  • Amends the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act to make the Act applicable in instances of sexual violence or harassment. 
  • Changes the definition of "sexual harassment" in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act and the Lobbyist Registration Act. 
  • Creates the Stopping Predators from Evading Allegations of Abuse of Kids Act. Prohibits sexual abuse of children in youth sports and creates mandatory reporting requirements.  
This measure also is awaiting assignment to a Senate standing committee.

Emergency Rule from IDES Regarding Email Communication With ALJs
The Department of Employment Security adopted emergency amendments to Claims, Adjudication, Appeals and Hearings (56 Illinois Administrative Code 2720; 43 Illinois Register 808) effective 1/1/19 for a maximum of 150 days. The emergency and proposed rules (43 Illinois Register 15) implement Public Act 100-880, which requires that the e-mail addresses of administrative law judges be placed on agency administrative hearing notices effective 1/1/19. The rulemaking explains the procedure for submitting documents to a referee by e-mail and explain which documents cannot be submitted by email.

Additional ELC Legislation
During its first two days of business, members of the 101 st General Assembly introduced nearly 400 new bills. The General Assembly returns the week of January 28 th .

HB 9  Paid Family Leave , sponsored by Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), creates the Paid Family Leave Act to require employers with 50 or more employees to provide 6 weeks of paid leave for an employee who takes leave: (1) because of the birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for the child; (2) to care for a newly adopted child under 18 years of age or a newly placed foster child under 18 years of age or a newly adopted or newly placed foster child older than 18 years of age if the child is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability; or (3) to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Provides that paid family leave shall be provided irrespective of the employer's leave policies; and shall be provided to an employee who has been employed by the employer for at least one year. Permits employees to voluntarily waive paid family leave. Provides that the Department of Labor may adopt any rules necessary to implement the Act.  House Rules Committee

HB 15  Criminal Code-Civil Rights Violation , sponsored by Rep. Flowers, amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to create the offense of violation of civil rights. Provides that a person commits violation of civil rights when he or she knowingly: (1) denies to another the full and equal enjoyment of the facilities and services of a place of public accommodation because of unlawful discrimination; (2) as the operator of a place of public accommodation, directly or indirectly, publishes, circulates, displays, mails, or emails a written or electronic communication, except a private communication sent in response to a specific inquiry, which he or she knows is to the effect that a facility of the place of public accommodation will be denied to a person because of unlawful discrimination or that the patronage of a person is unwelcome, objectionable, or unacceptable for the purpose of unlawful discrimination; (3) as a public official, refuses to employ, or discriminates in the employment of another for a public contract or public works project because of unlawful discrimination; or (4) as a public official, denies or refuses to a person the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of his or her office or services or of property under his or her care because of unlawful discrimination. Prohibits various private employment practices. Defines "unlawful discrimination". Provides that nothing in this provision shall be construed to impose criminal liability for actions that are exempt from civil liability under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Provides that a violation is a Class B misdemeanor. Effective immediately.  House Rules Committee

HB 20  Minimum Wage Increase , sponsored by Rep. Flowers, amends the Minimum Wage Law and increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour on October 1, 2019. Effective Immediately.
House Rules Committee. Also, SB 1  Minimum Wage , sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago), a shell bill amending the Minimum Wage Law.  Senate Assignments

HB 49 / HB 187 Immediate Expungement , sponsored by Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago), amends the Criminal Identification Act to allow records of charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal with prejudice, except for minor traffic offenses, to be immediately expunged after the final disposition of the case. Provides that upon entry of judgment, the defendant shall be informed of this right and the proper procedures to follow to have records that are eligible be immediately expunged. Provides that the petition may be filed on behalf of the defendant by his or her attorney at the final disposition hearing, or by the defendant at any time. Provides that the State's Attorney may not object to an immediate expungement petition and the presiding trial judge shall enter an order granting or denying the petition during the hearing in which the petition is filed. Provides that no fees shall be charged by the circuit court clerk or the Department of State Police for processing petitions filed under this provision.  House Rules Committee

HB 171  Victim Notice, sponsored by Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago), amends the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act to require the notice to employees under the Act to include language encouraging employees to report to the employer the possibility of a domestic or intimate partner committing an act of violence at the workplace and be distributed to all employees on an annual basis.  House Rules Committee

HB 249  Hazardous Materials Workforce, sponsored by Rep. Larry Walsh (D-Joliet), creates the Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act to require the Illinois EPA to develop by rule a curriculum of approved advanced safety training for workers at high hazard facilities. Requires an owner or operator, when contracting for the performance of construction work at the stationary source, that its contractors and any subcontractors use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all onsite work within an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades. Provides a penalty for violation of the Act. Creates the Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Makes corresponding changes in the State Finance Act. Effective immediately.  House Rules Committee

HB 252  Expands Human Rights Act, sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to expand the definition of "employer" to include any person employing one or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year or preceding the alleged violation (currently 15 or more employees).  Provides that "employer" does not include any place of worship with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by the place of worship of its activities.  House Rules Committee

SB 7  Adult Cannabis, sponsored by Sen. Steans, creates the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act and is a possible vehicle to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  Senate Assignments

Chamber in the News

Not all Illinois Democrats on board with progressive tax proposal. 

Pritzer to use own money to increase staff pay. 


Pritzker says "Democrats stand together" as party takes total power in Illinois, and all the problems. 

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