Search form

Illinois Expands State Human Rights Act to Include Employers with One or More Employees

By Patrick J. Rocks and Julia P. Argentieri
  • August 22, 2019

An amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) expands the definition of “employer” from employers with at least 15 employees to those with one or more employees.

The legislation, House Bill 252, was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 21, 2019, and enacted as Illinois Public Act 101-0430. The new law will become effective on July 1, 2020.

Previously, the IHRA only applied to businesses with 15 or more employees, except in cases of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and disability discrimination, where the definition is one or more employees. The IHRA also prohibits a “person,” a term that can include employers with fewer than 15 employees, from retaliating against individuals who file sexual harassment or discrimination charges. That provision of the IHRA was not amended.

The new definition of “employer” means that small businesses in Illinois may be subject to race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age discrimination claims and other claims that currently may be brought only against employers with 15 or more employees. Larger, multistate businesses that employ one or more Illinois workers also become Illinois employers covered by the new definition.

Employers included in the expanded definition of “employer” may need to review their personnel procedures, employee handbooks, and training materials to ensure they comply with the IHRA.

Smaller employers also should be aware that after July 1, 2020, they will be subject to many of the new obligations imposed by Public Act 101-0221 (P.A. 101-0221), formerly known as Senate Bill 75, including the Workplace Transparency Act and significant amendments to the IHRA. For more information regarding P.A. 101-0221, see our article, Illinois Enacts Workplace Harassment Law, Creating New and Expanded Obligations for Employers.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer questions regarding the IHRA and to help employers comply with its requirements.

©2019 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

September 20, 2019

Bill to Nullify Mandatory Predispute Arbitration Agreements Passes in U.S. House

September 20, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act” (FAIR Act), which aims to nullify mandatory, predispute arbitration agreements and class-action waivers for employment, consumer protection, antitrust, and civil rights matters. The FAIR Act, H.R. 1423, passed 225-186 in the House on September... Read More

August 13, 2019

New York Expands Harassment Laws, Protections of Religious Attire, Clothing, or Facial Hair

August 13, 2019

New York state has enacted sweeping new workplace harassment protections for employees, including lowering the standard for when harassment is actionable. It also has adopted new law prohibiting employment discrimination based on religious attire, clothing, or facial hair. Workplace Sexual Harassment On August 12, 2019, Governor... Read More

August 12, 2019

Illinois Enacts Workplace Harassment Law, Creating New and Expanded Obligations for Employers

August 12, 2019

Employers in Illinois will have new obligations related to employment contracts, training, and agency oversight under a wide-ranging bill signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 9, 2019, that is intended to combat workplace harassment and provide greater protections for employees. Senate Bill 75 unanimously passed both houses of... Read More

Related Practices