Jay Shattuck | Executive Director, Employment Law Council | 217-544-6590


The mission of the Employment Law Council is to effectively represent Illinois employers on employment law issues such as workers compensation, unemployment insurance, employment discrimination, workplace mandates and other management/employee issues. We advocate public policy actions that advance the interests and viewpoints of employers, and to assist in creating a political climate conducive to improving Illinois' ability to create and retain jobs.
The Council accomplishes its mission with the involvement of hundreds of employers who participate in our three committees: Workers' Compensation; Employment Law & Litigation; and Unemployment Insurance.  Through the efforts of these committees we develop policies and strategies that are implemented by the Council and Illinois Chamber staff.
Employers Take Another one on the Chin.......
this time its workers' comp

First it was the minimum wage. During the discussions on SB 1, the Illinois Chamber urged lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker to consider ways to mitigate the impact of increasing the minimum wage to $15. But, little to no negotiation on the legislation really occurred. Now, in another demonstration that elections have consequences, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association was able to ram thru the General Assembly SB 1596, sponsored by Sen. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) and Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville). And in this case, the proponents refused to negotiate a solution that also mitigates the impact on employers. The House approved the measure on a 70-40-1 partisan roll call.

SB 1596 is intended to overturn the 2015 Illinois Supreme Court decision of Folta v. Ferro Engineering where the Court affirmed the employers' protection of exclusive remedy under the Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases Acts. However, SB 1596 provides that the restriction in prosecution of a claim against an employer under both the WC and OD Acts "do not apply to any injury or death sustained by an employee as to which the recovery of compensation benefits under this Act would be precluded due to the operation of any period of repose or repose provision." Instead of the protections provided by the WC/OD Acts, employers will now face civil actions with unlimited awards, including punitive damages, from cases where the action has been previously barred.

The legislation now goes to the Governor. We will be requesting a veto and suggesting the Governor convene a meeting of the stakeholders to resolve the issue within the workers' compensation system.

House Approves Wage History Prohibition

HB 834 (Rep. Moeller/Sen. Castro) amends the Equal Pay Act to prohibit an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. The measure also reduces employer defenses and greatly expands penalties and remedies, including punitive damages. This measure is similar to legislation twice vetoed by former Gov. Rauner. Should it pass the Senate, Gov. Pritzker has indicated that he will sign it into law.

The Illinois Chamber opposed bill received a 86-28 vote earlier this week. It has been referred to the Senate Assignments Committee.

All Employers Could be Covered by Illinois Human Rights Act

Also earlier this week, the House approved HB 252 (Rep. Guzzardi/Sen. Castro) on a 74-40 roll call. The legislation defines "employer" under the Illinois Human Rights Act to include any person employing one (instead of 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. An "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.

The bill is in Senate Assignments. Gov. Pritzker has indicated he will also sign this Illinois Chamber-opposed legislation.

Other Key Employment Issues

HB 358 (Rep. Hoffman-D-Belleville) creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to specified statutes. Provides further powers and requirements of the Attorney General in the Worker Protection Unit. Scheduled for Hearing: House Labor & Commerce on March 20 at 3pm Illinois Chamber OPPOSED

HB 905 (Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz-D-Glenview) establishes the Private Sector Workplace Anti-Harassment Task Force Act to create model policies and best practices to keep workplaces safe from sexual harassment by March 1, 2020. The Department of Human Rights will provide administrative support to the Task Force and the model policies and best practices are to be posted on the Department of Human Rights' website within 30 days after finalization. House Second Reading Illinois Chamber NUETRAL

The Chamber also participated in discussions this past week with Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) regarding SB 1829. SB 1829 will be an omnibus bill regarding state policy on sexual harassment. Issues discussed include:
  • Prohibition on non-disclosure agreements and employer/employee required arbitration clauses;
  • Expansion of the Human Rights Act to Include independent contractors;
  • Requires extensive reporting by employers to the Human Rights Department information regarding all claims against and settlements by the employer of sexual harassment and discrimination in all federal, state and local jurisdictions;
  • Makes changes to the Victims Economic Safety and Security Act regarding employee notifications and legal remedies, adding punitive damages for violation;
  • Mandatory employer sexual harassment training by all employers; and
  • Prohibits all non-disclosure agreement of low wage workers.
HB 2343 (Rep. Gordon-Booth-D-Peoria) mandates employers to provide specified paid sick days to employees. Sets forth the purposes for and manner in which the sick days may be used. Contains provisions regarding employer responsibilities, unlawful employer practices, and other matters. Provides that the Department of Labor shall administer the Act. Authorizes the imposition of civil penalties. Authorizes individuals to file civil actions with respect to violations. Creates the Healthy Workplace Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Effective immediately. Scheduled Hearing: House Labor & Commerce on March 20 at 3pm Illinois Chamber OPPOSED

HB 2557 (Rep. Andrade-D-Chicago) creates the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act requiring an employer that asks applicants to record video interviews and uses an artificial intelligence analysis of applicant-submitted videos to notify each applicant in writing before the interview that artificial intelligence may be used to analyze the applicant's facial expressions and consider the applicant's fitness for the position; provide each applicant with an information sheet before the interview explaining how the artificial intelligence works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants; and obtain written consent from the applicant to be evaluated by the artificial intelligence program. An employer may not use artificial intelligence to evaluate applicants who have not consented to the use of artificial intelligence analysis. An employer may not share applicant videos, except with persons whose expertise is necessary in order to evaluate an applicant's fitness for a position. House Second Reading Illinois Chamber NUETRAL

SB 1466 (Sen. Castro-D-Elgin) expands the Equal Pay Act to include protections based on race, color, national origin, or ancestry. Provides exemptions for payments made under a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, and a differential based on any factor other than race, color, national origin, or ancestry, or another factor that would constitute unlawful discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Scheduled Hearing: Senate Labor on March 20 at 11am

SB 1474 (Sen. Ram Villivalam-D-Chicago/Rep. Lance Yednock-D-Ottawa) provides that employers and labor organizations covered by the National Labor Relations Act may execute and apply agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment to the fullest extent authorized by the National Labor Relations Act. Provides that it is the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule. Changes a reference to federal law with respect to union security agreements from a reference relating to requiring membership in a union in conflict with state law to a reference relating to unfair labor practices in connection with membership in a union. Defines terms. Passed the Senate 42-12 . Scheduled Hearing: House Labor & Commerce on March 20 at 3pm Illinois Chamber OPPOSED

SB 1829(Sen. Bush) Creates the Workplace Transparency Act. Provides that an employer shall not enter into a contract or agreement with an employee or applicant if that contract or agreement contains a nondisclosure or nondisparagement clause or forced arbitration clause that covers workplace harassment or discrimination, including sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting, resisting, opposing, or assisting in the investigation of workplace harassment or discrimination. Makes corresponding changes in the Uniform Arbitration Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, and the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. Changes the definition of "sexual harassment" in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act and the Lobbyist Registration Act. Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Provides that no court shall enter an order or judgment that has the purpose or effect of concealing a public hazard or any information concerning a public hazard, nor shall the court enter an order or judgment that has the purpose or effect of concealing any information that may be useful to members of the public in protecting themselves from injury that may result from the public hazard. Further amends the Illinois Human Rights Act. Requires the Department of Human Rights to adopt a model sexual harassment prevention training program and provides that all employers shall use the model or establish a training program that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model. Makes other changes concerning: definitions; procedures following an employer's failure to post required notices; and employer disclosure requirements. Amends the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act. Makes the Act applicable in instances of sexual harassment. Provides that a civil action may be brought to enforce the Act without first filing an administrative complaint. Makes other changes concerning definitions and documentation. Effective immediately. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee Illinois Chamber OPPOSED...working on alternative language as note above.

SB 1877 (Sen. John Curran-R-Wooridge) Creates the Sexual Harassment Victim Representation Act. Prohibits unions from designating the same union representative to represent both a victim of sexual harassment and the alleged perpetrator in any disciplinary proceeding. Senate Third Reading Illinois Chamber SUPPORTS

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