Illinois Employers Safe From Salary Bill
There is no doubt that there exists a disparity in the pay rates of male versus female employees, nationwide and in Illinois particularly. Men and women performing the same job with similar educational and work experience should be paid the same. Gender equality demands equal treatment. Illinois has recognized this disparity and over the summer, the legislature passed HB 2662, as an amendment to the Equal Pay Act. This Bill would have made an employer’s inquiry into an applicant’s wage, benefits or other compensation history an unlawful form of discrimination. The legislation would have provided aggrieved applicants to collect compensatory damages, punitive damages of up to $10,000, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. Oh yes, and let’s not forget, a statute of limitations that would have allowed for a private cause of action to be filed for up to 5 years. Finally, equality with some teeth to back it up, right? NOPE!
In a little noticed move, Governor Rauner has vetoed the bill!
Employers can breathe easier at least for now, since the bill would have placed some extraordinary burdens upon employers.
Had it become law, this amendment would have effectively required employers to:
- Keep applications and interview records (even for those they did not hire) for 5 years in order to comply with the Bill’s 5 year statute of limitations. By contrast, under Federal law, application records must only be kept for one (1) year from the date of making the record or the personnel action involved.
- Forbid employers from making employment decisions based upon an applicant’s prior salary history.
While this most current attempt to achieve salary equity has failed (despite its broad support by both houses of the Illinois legislature), it is clear that some type of salary history legislation will ultimately be signed off by Governor Rauner. In his reasoning for vetoing the proposed legislation, Governor Rauner stated that he wanted a more comprehensive, far reaching bill.
What does this ultimately mean for employers? Now is the time to carefully review job applications, interview questions, and related policies that may lead to challenges in the hiring process. Additionally, records retention policies are an absolute must. With varying retention period mandated by both Federal and State laws, it is very easy to get tripped up by not maintaining records for the proper period of time. Conversely, employers who hold on to records forever may end up costing themselves time, productivity and storage costs unnecessarily. By consulting with experienced employment counsel, such as Boznos Law, employers can remain proactive and not be caught unwary.
With over 33 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.