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Workplace Transparency Act: A Guide to the New Illinois Law
The Workplace Transparency Act (WTA), imposing restrictions and new requirements to employers pertaining to harassment and discrimination, has become effective as of January 1, 2020. The law includes provisions for contracts and arbitration, as well as broader and modified definitions of key terms and protections and outlines a new training mandate. Highlights of the changes are outlined below:
Harassment and Discrimination Definition Now Includes Perceived Protected Status
Discrimination or harassment against a person on the basis of his or her perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, order of protection status, disability, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy or unfavorable discharge from military, not just actual protected status.
Working Environment Definition Not Limited to Physical Location
An intimidating or hostile working environment is now clearly states that it is not limited to the physical location of an employee’s assigned work.
Protection from Discrimination and Harassment Includes Non-Employees
Non-employees are considered contractors or consultants and, like with employees, employers are liable for harassment and discrimination.
Employer Liability for Non-Managerial and Non-Supervisory Employees
Employers are responsible for acts of discrimination by non-managerial and non-supervisory employees if the employer is aware of the misconduct and does not take reasonable corrective measures.
Disclosure Requirements of Adverse Judgements or Rulings
Employers will be required to disclose annually to the Illinois Department of Human Rights any adverse judgements or rulings on the basis of discrimination or harassment during the preceding year.
Noncompliance could subject employers to penalties of up to $5000 per offense.
Sexual Harassment Policy Provided to All Employees of Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and bars are now required to provide employees with a sexual harassment policy, in writing, within the first calendar week of the employee’s employment. This policy must include:
- A prohibition of sexual harassment
- Definition of sexual harassment per the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Details on reporting an allegation of sexual harassment
- An explanation of the internal complaint process
- How to contact and file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- A prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations
- The requirement that all employees participate in annual sexual harassment training
Annual Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Employers are now required to provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees. At minimum, the training must:
- Define sexual harassment
- Provide examples of unlawful sexual harassment
- Summarize federal and state laws addressing sexual harassment, including available remedies to victims
- Identify employer responsibility to prevent, investigate and address sexual harassment
How Foodservice Safe can help.
- In response to the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act, Foodservice Safe offers sexual harassment training online for supervisors and employees.
Employers must provide the training for their employees annually. Non-compliance are subject to civil penalties of $500 to $5,000. Please visit www.foodservicesafe.com to register for our online program.