We previously reported on the Abusive Work Environment Act, introduced in the Illinois legislature, and the danger of this and similar legislation pending in other states. Such legislation includes language that is overly broad and may chill the rights of supervisors and employees to communicate with their fellow workers.
Alan M. Kaplan reports that action was taken on Friday, March 6, 2009, when the Labor and Employment Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association spoke out on this legislation. Mr. Kaplan, most recent past- Chair of the Section Council, was among the 11 attorneys who voted against this legislation. Six, mostly lawyers representing employees, voted in favor of the legislation and one member of the Council abstained. The Section Council has informed the Bar Association of its decision.
Recognizing that such legislation may well become law in Illinois or other states, the Section Council will examine the legislation and provide input to the State Legislature to attempt to blunt the negative effects of the legislation. Mr. Kaplan reports that the Section Council also voted against a proposed law that would provide unemployment compensation to union workers who strike or are locked out during a labor dispute. Now that the logjam has broken in Springfield after a winter of controversy, significant employment legislation may occur. If citizens are concerned about this and other legislation, they can register their support or opposition by contacting their state representatives or senators.