Illinois Human Rights Law to Cover Businesses with One Employee

 

By Patrick J. Rocks and Julia P. Argentieri © Jackson Lewis August 28, 2019
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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, HB 252, was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 21 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 SB 75, including the Workplace Transparency Act and significant amendments to the IHRA.

Patrick J. Rocks and Julia P. Argentieri are attorneys with Jackson Lewis in Chicago. © 2019 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 

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