Springfield Legislators Eye Major Expansion of Discrimination Laws

Discrimination, Employment

Bill Would Expand Law To Cover Virtually All Illinois Employers

By the end of this week, there’s a very good chance that the Illinois Legislature will place on Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature HB0252 – a bill that would eliminate the minimum employee threshold for anti-discrimination prohibitions in the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). This will make virtually any employer with as few as one employee subject to all anti-discrimination prohibitions in the IHRA.

Currently, companies with less than fifteen employees are subject only to anti-discrimination prohibitions covering sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination. But, if a company grows beyond fifteen employees, it is then subject to prohibitions on other forms of discrimination, like age and race. Similarly, the major federal anti-discrimination laws, like Title VII, apply only to employers with fifteen or more employees.

In 2018, the Illinois legislature passed a similar bill expanding coverage of the IHRA, but then-Governor Rauner vetoed the bill shortly before the November 2018 elections.

If passed, the bill would amend the IHRA’s definition of a covered employer to mirror the coverage under the City of Chicago and Cook County Human Rights Ordinances. But unlike those ordinances, the bill would expand anti-discrimination coverage to small employers across the entire state and give employees the right to file suit in state court.

The current draft of HB0252 provides a limited exemption for employers that are places of worship.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

And its status can be checked here.

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Gary Savine is an Illinois employment lawyer and founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. Gary regularly litigates employment discrimination cases. The firm represents employees and employers

Gary Savine speaks on Wage & Hour Compliance and Workplace Investigations.

In the coming months, our HR clients will have two new opportunities to hear Gary speak live on fostering a legally compliant workplace, as part of the Financial Poise Webinar series, “HR, Talent Management & Employment Law Boot Camp 2019.”

On June 5, 2019, Gary will be a featured panelist on the Webinar entitled “Show Them the Money: Wage and Hour Compliance.”

On August 7, 2019, Gary will be a featured panelist on the Webinar entitled “I Know What You Did Last Summer: Workplace Investigations.”

More information, and instructions for registration, can be found here.

Gary Savine is the founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. For assistance with your employment matter, contact us today!

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