October 2020 Illinois HR Legal Updates

Illinois Requires All Employers to Provide Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

What happened?
Effective this year, the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) requires that all Illinois employers, regardless of size, provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. Employers must also report negative outcome cases involving unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

What are the details?
With a lack of guidance related to COVID-19, employers must assume the rules created by the IHRA will continue as planned. All Illinois employers will need to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees by December 31, 2020. The training must contain the following subject matter:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
  • Examples of unlawful conduct that constitutes sexual harassment;
  • A summary of federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
  • A summary of the employer’s responsibilities for the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.

Additionally, employers must, by October 31, 2020, report and adverse judgements or administrative rulings involving unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). The report will encompass cases from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. Employers are not required to report settlements. The IDHR may, however, request a report showing the number of settlements in the preceding five years, or less. Information reported to the IDHR must not include the names of the alleged victims of harassment or discrimination. Employers will need to send in another report by July 1, 2021, to encompass information from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

An article covering the IDHR rules can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should provide training on the relevant topics to their employees before December 31, 2020 and submit the required report, mentioned above, by October 31, 2020.

July 2020 Illinois HR Legal Updates

Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois Pass New COVID-19–Related Regulations and Restrictions

What happened?
The City of Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois have all passed new guidance and regulations regarding COVID-19.

What are the details?

The Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, has announced changes to the re-opening strategy of the state. By breaking up the state into 11 distinct “health regions,” each region will be assigned its own mitigation strategies based on two criteria.

  1. If the health region has experienced three consecutive days averaging greater than or equal to an 8% increase in positivity rate.
  2. A sustained increase in positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average and either:
    1. Sustained seven-day increases in hospital admissions for COVID-19–like illnesses
    1. A reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities.

If health regions meet these two criteria, they will be subject to new regulations that scale in how severe they are based on how poorly the health region is doing based on the two criteria listed above.

The full update can be found here.

Cook County

Cook County Department of Public Health has issued travel guidance that now advises certain visitors to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. If the person is coming in from one of their listed states, they will

be advised to adhere to quarantine protocols. This is not a requirement; however, the City of Chicago has passed similar restrictions that are requirements.

The full list of the county provided can be found here.

City of Chicago

The City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health has released an Emergency Travel Order requiring anyone coming from a state with more than an average of 15 new cases per 100,000 residents to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The order does not apply to essential workers. Essential workers are those identified by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Essential workers will not need to quarantine if they:

  1. Are a non-resident of Chicago and are traveling from a designated state to Chicago for the primary purpose of carrying out their primary work in Chicago and need to be physically present in Chicago to carry out that primary work; or
  2. Are a resident of Chicago and are returning from a designates state, were in the designated state for the primary purpose of carrying out their primary work in that state and needed to by physically present in that state to carry out that primary work.

The list of critical infrastructure sectors can be found here.

The original Emergency Travel Order can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Illinois should be mindful of the travel restrictions. Employers within Cook County and the City of Chicago should let employees know about the new travel restrictions to prevent them from visiting a restricted state.

June 2020 Illinois HR Legal Updates

Chicago Enacts COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Measures

What happened?
On May 20, 2020, a new ordinance was signed into law increasing protections for employees who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19.

What are the details?
The ordinance creates new protections for “Covered Employees,” who are following orders issued by the mayor of the City of Chicago. These protections include prohibiting the demotion and termination of these “Covered Employees.” A “Covered Employee” is defined generally as, an employee who, in any two-week period, performs at least two hours of work for an employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago. Covered employees may be following any of the following orders:

  • Staying at home to minimize the transmission of COVID-19
    • Remaining at home while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or while sick with COVID-19
    • A quarantine order issued to the Covered Employee
    • An isolation order issued to the Covered Employee
    • An order issued by the Commissioner of Health regarding the duties of hospitals and other congregate facilities

These protections extend to a covered employee who is caring for an individual who is following the first three of the listed orders. Additionally, as of July 1, 2020, outside salespersons and some students will be considered Covered Employees as well.

The ordinance also creates new ways for the City of Chicago to enforce these protections. An administrative of court action can be brought against employers who are noncompliant with the law. Even if the City itself does not pursue the employer, employees will be able to bring the case forward in court as well. Employers who are noncompliant have a 30-day period after they have been notified of a violation to fix the behavior without being liable for damages. Otherwise, the employees will be able to seek the following damages:

  1. Reinstatement to the same or equivalent position
  2. Monetary damages equal to three times the lost wages
  3. Actual damages
  4. Attorney fees and costs

For a more detailed breakdown of the ordinance: Read Here

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Chicago should immediately update their workplace policies to prevent any violations of the Covered Employee’s protections. Should it become necessary to terminate a Covered Employee the employer needs to be able to provide documentation to show its necessity.

Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)

Sexual Harassment Training
The Illinois Department of Human Rights has provided clarity on sexual harassment training requirements in the guidance issued on January 31, 2020. The guidance includes clarifications, such as:

  • Employers must train all employees in Illinois, including short-term and part-time employees and interns.
  • Employers are not required to train independent contractors but are strongly advised to train independent contractors who work on-site at the employer’s workplace or interact with the employer’s staff.
  • Employees who perform work or regularly interact with the employer’s employees in Illinois should be trained, even if they are based in another state.

Human Trafficking Training for Lodging Establishments
Effective June 1, 2020, hotels, motels, and casino hotels must provide certain employees with training on the recognition of human trafficking and protocols for reporting observed human trafficking to the appropriate authorities. An employer may develop its own training program or use that of a third party that includes the minimum requirements. In addition, the Department of Human Services is expected to develop a training program for use by employers by July 1, 2020.

School Activities Leave
Effective August 1, 2020, Illinois’ School Visitation Rights Act (SVRA) is amended to cover behavioral meetings or academic meetings (previously classroom activities) and prohibit employers from terminating an employee because of an absence that is due solely to a reason protected by the SVRA.

Chicago Paid Sick Leave
Effective July 1, 2020, Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance applies to all employers with at least one covered employee, regardless of whether the employer maintains a business facility in Chicago or is subject to any Chicago business license requirements (as previously required). In addition, individuals excluded from coverage include outside salespersons, members of a religious corporation or organization, certain students, motor carriers, and certain camp counselors.

Chicago Predictive Scheduling
Effective July 1, 2020, the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance requires certain employers in building services, healthcare (effective January 1, 2021, for safety-net hospitals), hotels, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and warehouse services to provide covered employees at least 10 days’ notice of their work schedules and predictability pay for certain changes to the schedule.

For additional information regarding this Chicago ordinance, please refer to this firm’s legal update. Please note that recent amendments to this ordinance allow for certain exceptions during a pandemic (including the COVID-19 pandemic).

May 2020 Illinois Legal HR Update

Sexual Harassment Training

What happened?
The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act requires employers to conduct sexual harassment training.

What are the details?
The Illinois Department of Human Rights released a model training with editable PowerPoint slides.

What do employers need to do?
Review the training and ensure training minimally meets these requirements.

https://www.fordharrison.com/illinois-model-sexual-harassment-training-best-practices-for- implementation; https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Training/pages/default.aspx