September 19, 2019
Authored by: Christy Phanthavong and Patrick DePoy
Illinois employers must begin preparing now for the host of new legal requirements impacting the workplace beginning in 2020. With legal changes on topics ranging from hiring practices and pay equity to drug testing and severance agreements, employers should not only review and revise their policies, practices and expectations, but also ensure that their Human Resources and management personnel receive training to ensure compliance.
Amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”)
Under new amendments to the IHRA, more employers are now subject to the IHRA, more protections are now provided to employees (and others), sexual harassment training is now a requirement, and employers now have reporting obligations to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) regarding adverse judgments, administrative rulings, and settlements. Specifically:
- Beginning July 1, 2020, rather than applying only to employers with 15 or more employees, the IHRA applies to all employers with one or more employees in Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks. Newly covered employers should ensure that HR personnel and managers are aware of the areas in which the IHRA is broader than federal anti-discrimination laws, including but not limited to: (1) pregnancy accommodation requirements; (2) prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, marital status, and order-of-protection status; and (3) the potential for individual liability of harassers.
- Beginning January 1, 2020, the scope of protection provided by the IHRA will expand. HR personnel and managers must be aware of the new protections so that they appropriately recognize and respond to concerns.