Small Businesses NOT Covered by Illinois Anti-Discrimination Laws
The Illinois Human Rights Act Will NOT Cover Small Businesses
Last month, we provided notice to all that the Illinois legislature had passed a bill which would have extended coverage of the Illinois Human Rights Act to small employers. (http://www.boznoslawoffice.com/legislative-alert/) The term “small employers” generally refers to those businesses that employ 15 or fewer employees. All that awaited was for the Governor to sign the new law into effect. That won’t happen!
On Monday, August 14, 2018, Governor Rauner expressly vetoed the bill. His reasoning was that discrimination lawsuits already put a heavy burden on businesses and this type of law would only increase that burden. Rauner went on to say that businesses had enough safe safeguards by being subject to the Federal laws governing discrimination.
Under Federal Law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act provide protection for employees from discrimination based on age, race, gender, religion, sex, etc. The key is that these laws only are applicable if the employer has 15 or more employees. Small businesses employing less that 15 employees are therefore free to discriminate. The state law which was vetoed would have closed this loophole and made protection available to all employees, regardless of the size of the employer.
The vote for the bill in the Illinois legislature was not by a large enough margin to override the Governor’s veto. Thus, at least for now, small businesses are safe from state and most federal laws governing mistreatment and discrimination against their employees.
As always, where there are important legislative developments impacting the labor and employment world, we will keep you up to date.
With over 34 years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the changes to the employment laws. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us at www.boznoslawoffice.com/contact-us through our website.