Recently, LGLJ joined the Employment Law & Litigation Committee of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Employment Law Council. Tom Weiler, Theresa Bresnahan-Coleman, and John Masters attended the October meeting. Representatives of the Illinois Human Rights Department (IDHR) and the Illinois Human Rights Commission joined the Committee for a discussion of recent changes to Illinois employment discrimination laws.
Implementation of the new pregnancy accommodations law
One of the key topics of discussion was the implementation of the new law requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and “conditions related to pregnancy.” You may recall Kristen Cemate’s previous posts outlining the requirements of the new law. The IDHR will be developing rules to implement the law and welcomed our Committee’s input to the process. The IDHR indicated it plans to issue draft rules before the end of the year. If you have any questions or comments or would like to discuss any input into the rule making process, please contact Tom, Theresa, John, or Kyle Lewis.
Proposal to require IDHR to close allegations pending before the Department once suit is filed
The Committee also discussed an initiative proposed by the Employment Law Council which would require the IDHR to administratively close allegations pending before the Department after the beginning of a civil action, commenced by an aggrieved party under any State or federal law, seeking relief with respect to those allegations. Currently, the IDHR can continue with the investigation process even after the employee has filed suit. The Committee’s next step is to meet with the Department and opponents of the legislation.
Implementation of the new “Ban the Box” law
In addition, the Committee discussed the upcoming implementation of the new “Ban the Box” law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. Under this new law, it will be illegal for employers to inquire into an applicant’s criminal record until the applicant has been determined to be qualified for the position and selected for an interview, or if no interview, until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
Both the Illinois Department of Labor and IDHR to have jurisdiction to investigate alleged Equal Pay Act violations
The IDHR’s representatives noted that they will be meeting with the Illinois Department of Labor soon to review regulations related to investigations under the Equal Pay Act. As of January 1, 2015, the Department of Labor will have the ability to refer cases to the IDHR for investigation, giving both Departments jurisdiction to investigate alleged Equal Pay Act violations.
Workplace Violence Protection Act requires consultation with employee prior to filing petition for restraining order
Finally, the Committee noted that the Workplace Violence Protection Act went into effect on July 18, 2014. Importantly, employers who seek to obtain a workplace protection retraining order when an employee is a victim of domestic violence must first notify the employee in writing of the intent to seek a restraining order and conduct a verbal consultation with the employee prior to filing the petition for the order. If the employee does not give full and voluntary consent for the order, the employer must wait for four days before filing the petition.