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Important Laws Affecting Small Businesses

2019/2020

Public Act 101-0221 Employment Discrimination/Sexual Harassment (effective Jan. 1, 2020)

Our Small Business Development Office is providing a Free Online Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Workshop on November 5th from 10a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Click here to register

If you attended our training session on January 15, 2020 you are compliant through 2020.

Every employer with employees working in the State of Illinois must provide annual sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, and annually thereafter.

We have an Anti-Harassment Policy template and an Anti-Harassment Policy Checklist free to our members call us at 815-895-3456.

Additionally, restaurants and bars must establish and disseminate a written policy on sexual harassment prevention training and provide “supplemental” sexual harassment prevention training. Every employer must keep an internal record of compliance, such as sign-in sheets for group training, signed employee acknowledgment of completion, a certificate of participation with a copy retained by the employer, or any other format that identifies who attended what training, on what date. Following is the official notice of the Minimum Training Standards from the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Employers Must Provide Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Every employer with employees working in the State of Illinois is required to provide all employees with annual sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-109 of the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training program that meets or exceeds the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention training as outlined in Section 2-109(B) of the IHRA, or they may use the model sexual harassment prevention training developed by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”).

For new employees, training must occur within 90 days of hire. Furthermore, from now on, the law requires annual sexual harassment training. See more information about the IHR training compliance at https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/Pages/State-of-Illinois-Sexual-Harassment-Prevention-Training-Model.aspx

Restaurants and bars are required to provide “supplemental” sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-110 of the IHRA.

Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training programs provided they meet or exceed the minimum training standards outlined in Section 2-109(B), which include:

  • an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
  • examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
  • a summary of relevant federal and State statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
  • a summary of employers’ responsibilities in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.

Additional Compliance Information

  • Supplemental Training.  To satisfy the requirements under Section 2-109, employers may use IDHR’s model sexual harassment prevention training program to supplement any existing program an employer is utilizing or develops.
  • Deadline to Train Employees. Employers must train employees by December 31, 2020, and on an annual basis thereafter.
  • Civil Penalty. Any employer that violates Section 2-109 will be issued a notice to show cause giving the employer 30 days to comply. Failure to comply within 30 days will result in IDHR petitioning the Illinois Human Rights Commission for entry of an order imposing a civil penalty against the employer.

For more information, please visit IDHR’s website at www.illinois.gov/dhr/training.  View Section 2-109 and Section 2-110 of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

A Handout version of this notice: https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/Documents/IDHR_SHP-TR01_Minimum_Standards_Training-Ver20200127.pdf

Download the Model Training Provided by IDHR (English and Spanish versions): https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/Pages/State-of-Illinois-Sexual-Harassment-Prevention-Training-Model.aspx

There are numerous vendors providing training on-line for fees. An on-line search of “Illinois Sexual Harassment Law Training Options” will give a view to availability.

Other Resources

FAQ for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/Pages/FAQ%20for%20Sexual%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Training.aspx

Access to the Institute for Training and Development https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/Pages/FAQ%20for%20Sexual%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Training.aspx

Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisDHR/

Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) Eventbrite site for all currently available training conducted by IDHR: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/illinois-department-of-human-rights-357295684

The Illinois Restaurant Association information Links for training and a policy template for members: https://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/page/SexualHarassment

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Please be aware of the Hourly Minimum Rate in Illinois. Click here for information and details from the Illinois Department of Labor.

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Public Act 101-0177 Wage History Question Prohibition (effective Oct. 1)

Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibiting an employer from:

  • screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history,
  • requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria,
  • requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment.
  • The law prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions.
  • Potential employees may freely provide past salary information, but employers must not ask for it.

Employers who do not comply could face fines and penalties from the Illinois Department of Labor and well as potential civil action and lawsuits.

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Small Business Retirement Plans (effective Nov. 1 for businesses with 25-99 employees)

Illinois Secure Choice is a Roth IRA program run by the Illinois Treasurer’s Office.  This program is directed at employers (with 25 or more employees) that do not already offer a savings plan for their employees. Employers with 25-99 employees must register by October.

The savings accounts are owned by individual participants and will be portable from job-to-job. Their accounts will be pooled and managed by a private investment company selected through a competitive bidding process.

  • Their Illinois Secure Choice account is a Roth IRA
  • The default savings rate is 5% of gross pay, but they can choose to change their contribution level or fund option at any time
  • Employees will be auto enrolled after 30 days and will begin saving through payroll contributions
  • Employees who do not want to participate MUST opt-out.

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Public Act 101-0430 Human Rights Act (effective July 1, 2020)

Amends the Illinois Human Rights Act so that it applies to all employers with one or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year. Previously, the act applied to employers with 15 or more employees.

Employers required poster includes the information needed for Wage Payment and Collection Act, Child Labor Law, Minimum Wage Law, Equal Pay Act, Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act and the One Day Rest in Seven Act.

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