Several changes to Illinois laws went into effect on January 1, 2020. This legislation affected many different areas of the criminal justice system, including employment law. Employers are required to follow certain rules and uphold standards in order to maintain a good business standing. Companies are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed in 1938 to improve workplace conditions. Since that time, there has been a much greater focus on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. Signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019, the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) was enacted at the first of the year and is intended to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment while providing greater protections for Illinois employees. Depending on the circumstances, some employers may need to revise certain policies, training, and reporting as they relate to their employees in order to comply with the WTA.
Details of the WTA
Upon their hiring, employees may be required to sign an employment contract that describes the terms of their employment and requires them to follow company policies. The WTA prohibits any contract or agreement that restricts an employee from reporting unlawful conduct or employment practices or testifying about alleged criminal conduct. In addition, the WTA limits the use of non-disclosure or arbitration clauses that would potentially require an employee to waive or mediate a current or future claim regarding an unlawful employment practice.
The WTA allows for confidentiality provisions in employment agreements with prospective and current employees if they comply with specific requirements. Provisions that would be considered against public policy may be included if the employer and the current or potential employee both agree to these terms in writing, and the agreement reflects “actual, knowing, and bargained-for consideration” from both parties. The agreement must also state that the employee has the right to:...