New Illinois Law Aims to Promote Corporate Board Diversity

Other new workplace laws cover human rights, marijuana, technology and salary history

Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP By Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP September 6, 2019
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New Illinois Law Aims to Promote Corporate Board Diversity

Certain Illinois-based businesses will have to report data on female and minority board membership to the state under a bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law on Aug. 27.

HB 3394 amended the Illinois Business Corporation Act to require publicly traded businesses with principle executive offices in the state to report the number of women and minorities on boards, as well as their plans to promote diversity.

State lawmakers found "that women and minorities are still largely underrepresented nationally in positions of corporate authority," according to the bill's findings and purpose. "This low representation could be contributing to the disparity seen in wages made by females and minorities versus their white male counterparts."

The bill is just one of several new laws in Illinois that will impact the workplace. We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets on the news.

Board Diversity Data to be Analyzed and Made Available to Public

HB 3394 initially would have required covered corporations to have at least one female, one black and one Latino board member. Only 12 of Chicago's 40 largest corporations would currently be in compliance if that version of the bill had passed, according to one study. The final version of the bill removed the diversity requirement, but companies will still have to report the number of women and minorities on their board. The University of Illinois will study the data, grade corporations based on their diversity and publish aggregate data each year. Covered businesses must submit their first reports to the Illinois secretary of state's office by Jan. 1, 2021, and the university will publish its analysis that year.

(Chicago Business)

Illinois Human Rights Law to Cover Businesses with One Employee

An amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act will expand the definition of "employer" from those with at least 15 employees to those with one or more. 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. The new law takes effect July 1, 2020.

(SHRM Online)

#MeToo-Inspired Law Creates Sweeping Employer Obligations

In line with recently passed legislation in New York and California, the Illinois Legislature rallied to create a bill that will help increase employee protections by combating discrimination and harassment in the workplace. On Aug. 9, Pritzker signed SB 75 into law, comprehensively reshaping the landscape of sexual harassment and discrimination law in the state. 

(SHRM Online)

Illinois Expands Equal Pay Act and Bans Salary-History Inquiries

An amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act will expand the act's scope and prohibit employers in Illinois from requesting information about a job applicant's prior compensation. HB 834 was signed into law on July 31 and takes effect on Sept. 29.

(SHRM Online)

New Law Amends Health Care Worker Background Check Act

Applicants with criminal records in Illinois will now have a better chance of obtaining health care jobs. A new law, which went into effect immediately, allows applicants with criminal records working with job training programs, drug treatment centers or pro bono legal service organizations to obtain waivers before receiving the job offer.

(SHRM Online)

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Use

Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana when Pritzker approved legislation in June. For employers, the end of Illinois' prohibition on recreational use invites a host of practical problems, though nothing in the act requires an employer to allow on-the-job use or intoxication. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

(SHRM Online) and (NPR)

Employers Must Comply with Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act

Pritzker also recently signed into law first-of-its-kind legislation regulating the use of artificial intelligence in Illinois. The statute will become effective Jan. 1, 2020, and employers who use artificial intelligence to analyze video interviews will need to follow specific steps.

(SHRM Online

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