New Protections Target Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace

Legislation recently signed into law will better help protect employees in the area of discrimination and sexual harassment in Illinois. House Bill 138 was the result of numerous hearings and dozens of hours of testimony by the Illinois House Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Task Force.

 HB 138 include measures to:
• Make the office of Legislative Inspector General (“LIG”) a full time position and require public posting of the position when there is a vacancy. If the office is vacant for more than 6 months, complaints shall be directed to the Inspector General of the Auditor General.
• Extend the time to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights from 180 days to 300 days.
• Allow the LIG to move forward with an investigation regarding a sexual harassment complaint without higher approval.
• Require the LIG or Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC) to report disapproval of an investigation request.
• Create optional comprehensive training for legislators and staff. The training would include such things as sexual harassment, workplace civility and discrimination; and clarify that the LIG and LEC continue to have jurisdiction over former members and staff.
• Ensure political State Central Committees implement a sexual harassment policy.
• Require annual reporting regarding statistics, not specifics from the state sexual harassment helpline.
• Create a House rule to encourage legislators to report incidents of sexual harassment to their respective ethics officers. (HR1165)

A full list of all of the reforms included in the bill can be found here.

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