Illinois now has a robust and significant set of sexual harassment and discrimination protection laws on the books, thanks to legislation co-sponsored by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) and signed into law Aug. 9 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Senate Bill 75 is largely the result of work by the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, on which Curran served.
“This is a major step toward ensuring that people can live and work free of sexual harassment and discrimination,” said Curran. “This also makes sure that the proper mechanisms are in place to hold people accountable who commit harassment and discrimination.”
The new law includes a number of provisions recommended by the Task Force, as well as ideas proposed by lawmakers proposed during the legislative session.
- Prohibits unions from assigning the same union representative to victim and alleged harasser in disciplinary proceedings. This element was initially filed by Sen. Curran and passed in the Senate before being added to the larger omnibus legislation.
- Limits on the use of non-disclosure clauses which could restrict an employee’s ability to report sexual discrimination or harassment.
- Updates the Human Rights Act to increase protections for employees and improve reporting.
- Expands the Victims Economic Safety Act to offer protections for victims of gender violence.
- Creates new protections for hotel and casino employees.
- Requires state officials, employees, and lobbyists to take sexual harassment and discrimination prevention training.
- Speeds up the process of Inspectors General filing complaints with appropriate ethics commissions.
- Creates a Complainants Bill of Rights for investigation in the Executive and Legislative branches.
- Requires other governmental units to update ordinances for sexual harassment complaints between elected officials.
“I’m extremely proud to see this legislative package become law,” said Curran. “This makes it clear that we will not allow harassment and discrimination to continue in the workplace, especially in government.”