Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ILLINOIS STATE SENATE DISTRICT 31: Bush’s sweeping reforms targeting harassment and discrimination signed into law

Politics

By Press release submission | Aug 13, 2019

Lawyer

Illinois State Senate District 31 issued the following announcement on Aug. 9.

Private sector workers who experience sexual harassment and discrimination will have greater protections under the law thanks to a major piece of legislation from State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that was signed into law .

“This is one of the most important pieces of sexual harassment and discrimination legislation passed in decades,” Bush said. “It provides additional rights and protections to every Illinois worker and allows employees to seek justice should they be harassed or discriminated against on the job. Preventing and protecting individuals from harassment and discrimination is not just good for workers, it’s good for business.”

Bush introduced the measure after hearing from victims, advocates and members of the business community during the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention’s hearings last year. She served as co-chair of the task force.

“We’re not only changing the law—we’re changing the culture. We’re standing with victims and saying enough is enough,” Bush said. “With these measures in place, workers will have more protections under the law, and employers will be more proactive about educating employees and preventing these situations.”

Senate Bill 75 is an omnibus bill, which:

Limits the use of contract provisions intended to prevent an employee from reporting sexual harassment, such as non-disclosure agreements, arbitration clauses and non-disparagement clauses for cases involving harassment, discrimination and retaliation

Makes harassment against contract employees illegal. (Currently, these employees do not have legal protection against sexual harassment.)

Clarifies that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if they are perceived to be part of a protected class (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), even if they are not

Allows victims of gender-related violence to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning and other assistance

Prevents a union representative from representing both a victim of sexual harassment and the alleged harasser in a disciplinary proceeding

Requires hotels and casinos to provide employees who work in isolated spaces with panic buttons for use if they are sexually harassed or assaulted

Requires the Department of Human Rights to make a sexual harassment training program available for employers to provide to their employees and a separate sexual harassment training program specifically for restaurants and bars

Original source can be found here.

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Illinois State Senate District 31

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