December 10, 2019

Ringing in the New Year: What Illinois Employers Can Expect in 2020

The employment landscape in Illinois is rapidly changing this upcoming year. To help prepare, we’ve provided a checklist for Illinois employers on the important changes they can expect in 2020.

Workplace Transparency Act (WTA)

Largely goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The WTA will place limitations on employment and arbitration agreements; expand definitions of discrimination, harassment, working environment, and violence; expand application to nonemployees; impose liability for employer’s nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees; and require annual sexual harassment prevention training. Further, restaurants and bars are required to have a specific harassment policy provided to all employees, in writing, within the first calendar week of the employee’s employment. Effective on July 1, 2020, Illinois employers will also have mandatory employer disclosure requirements. Here’s a complete breakdown of the WTA. Also, here are recommended next steps for complying with WTA.

Takeaway: Employers are strongly recommended to review their agreements, policies on discrimination, harassment, violence, and leave; evaluate whether their internal sexual harassment training program meets the WTA’s minimum requirements; and begin preparing to comply with the mandatory reporting requirements. Further, restaurant and bar employers must prepare to issue a sexual harassment policy to all employees.

Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act

Effective January 1, 2020, employers who use artificial intelligence to analyze video interviews must take three steps before asking job applicants to submit a video interview:

  1. Employers must notify each applicant that artificial intelligence may be used to analyze the applicant’s video interview and consider the applicant’s fitness for the job.
  2. Employers must provide each applicant with information before the interview explaining how the artificial information system works and the general types of characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants.
  3. Before the interview, employers must obtain an applicant’s consent that artificial intelligence may be used to evaluate the applicant.

Further, upon request from the applicant, an employer must delete the applicant’s interview within 30 days after the receipt of the request.

Takeaway: Employers using artificial intelligence will want to make sure they have procedures in place to notify their applicants, explain how the system works and obtain consent from an applicant before they submit a video interview for job considerations.

Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act

Beginning on January 1, 2020, Illinois residents 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess and purchase cannabis for personal, recreational use. Here’s an overview of the potential impacts employers should consider, along with additional considerations due to recent legislative enactments.

Takeaway: Employers will need to evaluate their post-offer, pre-employment drug testing. Also, employers should provide supervisors with reasonable suspicion training and adopt procedures where managers review and document any possible behaviors that indicate an employee is under the influence.

Minimum Wage Changes

Beginning January 1, 2020, the state minimum wage will rise to $9.25 per hour, and beginning July 1, 2020, the minimum wage will rise to $10 per hour. For each subsequent calendar year, the state minimum wage will increase by $1 increments until it tops out at $15 per hour in 2025.

Takeaway: Employers with employees working in Illinois should consider the impact of these minimum wage changes have on their payroll and budget and plan for any changes to recordkeeping.

Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

Effective July 1, 2020, employers must provide employees a minimum of 10 days’ notice of their work schedules. See here for a list of key dates, details and considerations for employers regarding the Ordinance.

Takeaway: Employers should evaluate their scheduling practices and determine what changes may be required by the Ordinance in order to avoid penalties.

The Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act

Beginning on July 1, 2020, certain employers in hospitality and casino industries will be required to equip employees with personal safety and notification devices that may be used to summon help if they are a victim of or are witnessing sexual harassment or a crime. Employers must provide the notification device to employees at no cost.

Further, hotel and casino employers must expressly inform each of their employees about the protections against sexual harassment and discrimination as found in the Illinois Human Rights Act and Title VII. Employers will now be required to include specific language in written anti-sexual harassment policies instructing employees to leave the work area immediately if they perceive danger and encourage employees to immediately report any instance of alleged sexual assault or harassment by a guest. The Act also requires employers to separate employees from offending guests and accommodate employees who seek legal protection against offending guests. Employers will now be required to offer employees temporary work assignments to accommodate them if they complain about guests who have engaged in sexual harassment. They must also provide employees with PTO to make police reports about offending guests and to attend legal proceedings regarding any such complaints. Finally, the Act requires that employers provide each employee with a current copy of the employers’ current anti-sexual harassment policy in both English and Spanish.

Takeaway: Illinois hotel and casino employers should revise and/or develop a compliant anti-sexual harassment policy (in English and any other predominate language spoken by employees), train employees on the new requirements of the Act, and provide personal safety and notification devices to issue to employees, such as panic buttons.

Next Steps for Employers

The significant changes to Illinois law increase employers’ obligations to their employees. Employers should confirm their policies, disclosures and procedures are in compliance with these new laws and provide the required training. In addition, employers should strongly consider additional training for managers to evaluate whether an employee is under the influence at work.

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