Along with decorations, holiday feasts, and other merriment, employers in Illinois get to celebrate the close of another year by updating their policies and practices to comply with several recently enacted laws that will take effect with the New Year. These include the following.
Pregnancy Accommodation – New Mandatory Poster
Perhaps the most significant new law affecting Illinois employers is Public Act 98-1050 which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to expand legal protection for pregnant employees, requiring all employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees.
Among other requirements, the new law obligates employers to post a notice to employees. The poster is mandatory for all employers—not just those with 15 or more employees. Although the new provisions were signed into law on August 26, 2014, the Department of Human Rights published the new poster on its website just last Friday, December 12. The poster is available here, along with a separate fact sheet for employers regarding the requirements of the new law. Notably, although the information on the Department’s website only references posting the notice in a conspicuous place where other employment law notices are posted, the amended Human Rights Act also appears to require employers to publish the notice in any employee handbook that includes information about employee rights under the Act.
Ban the Box
Another new Illinois law, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (PA 98-0774), more commonly referred to as the “Ban the Box” law, prohibits private sector employers with 15 or more employees from asking job applicants about their criminal background prior to extending an offer of an interview or conditional employment.
Payroll Card Programs
Public Act 98-0862 amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act to impose new restrictions on payroll card programs offered by employers.
Sexual Harassment Protection for Unpaid Interns
Public Act 98-1037 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to extend the Act’s prohibition on sexual harassment to unpaid interns.
We previously provided more detailed summaries of these laws, available here:
All employers with Illinois employees should review their policies and procedures and consult legal counsel as necessary to ensure that they are in compliance with the new laws by January 1, 2015.