On July 31st, 2019 Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker signed HB 834 into law which amended the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (IEPA). The major provisions changed become effective September 29th, 2019.
Major provision changes include:
1. The general application of equal pay is broadened by language change.
2. If a pay gap does exist, Illinois has followed the federal law and allowed for four explanations: a) a seniority system; b) a merit system; c) quantity or quality of production; and d) any other factor than sex or race. However after September 29th, the fourth explanation is modified to be much more narrowly tailored to require that the discrepancy be attributable to the job in question only.
3. Statute now prohibits employers from requiring an employee to sign any contract or waiver that would prohibit the employee from discussing his or her own compensation.
4. Employees will now be allowed to seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief and attorneys fees in some circumstances and as allowed.
5. Salary ban: As amended post September 29th, under the IEPA, there are strict provisions as to inquiries into an applicants prior salary. The salary ban prohibits Illinois employers and any agents acting on their behalf from the following:
a. may not screen job applicants based on their salary history;
b. may not request salary history be provided as a condition of being interviewed or considered for employment;
c. may not request or require applicants to disclose salary history information as a condition of employment;
d. may not seek an applicant's salary history information from the applicant's current or former employers (unless it is a matter of public record).
Of course if the applicant provides this information voluntarily the employer (or agent) will not be held liable for any violation so long as this information is not used as consideration for employment or terms and conditions of employment.
Start training your managers, supervisors and any other persons responsible for hiring on this new law. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact a Spognardi Baiocchi Attorney of your choice.