There are a number of new laws going into effect in 2020 in Illinois. The list below contains some of the biggest changes our state will see, which includes a number of new employment laws. At Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys, we pride ourselves on ensuring our clients understand the laws that apply to their personal injury cases. That’s why we educated ourselves on any and all new laws and amendments.
Workplace Transparency Act
Going into effect January 1, 2020, the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act will impose annual anti-harassment training and reporting requirements for Illinois employers. Additionally, there will be limitations on the use of confidentiality and arbitration provision in employment agreements.
All employees are required to attend yearly sexual harassment prevention training. Employers can use model training issued by the Illinois Department of Humans Rights, or they can issue their own sexual harassment prevention training so long as it explains sexual harassment in a way that’s consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act, contains examples of conduct considered to be harassment, summarizes relevant statutory provisions, and summarizes the responsibility of employers in regard to preventing harassment.
With confidentiality and arbitration, employers cannot mandate arbitration of discrimination or harassment claims and they are not allowed to require current or prospective employees to waive any existing or future claims or rights regarding unlawful, discriminatory practices.
Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act
To protect individuals from harassment and abuse at work, employers in the hospitality and casino industries will be required to equip employees with personal safety and notification devices when they’re working in a guestroom, restroom, or on a casino floor alone. Employers are also required to inform their employees about the protections against sexual harassment and discrimination.
In addition to those measures, employers are required to separate employees from guests who are offenders and accommodate employees who seek legal protection against guests who have harassed them or discriminated against them. This act, in conjunction with the Workplace Transparency Act, prohibits employers from preventing disclosure or waiver of an employee’s rights related to harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in order to retain or obtain employment.
Amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act
Effective on July 1, 2020, an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) expands the definition of “employer” from employers with at least 15 employers to those with one or more employees. Overall, this means employees are provided with more protections, sexual harassment training is required, and employers have an obligation to make reports regarding adverse judgments, administrative rulings, and settlements.
This means that under the new definition of “employer,” small businesses in Illinois may be subject to race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age discrimination claims. Additionally, smaller employers will be subject to a number of new obligations, including those discussed under the Workplace Transparency Act.
Larger Fines for Illegally Passing School Buses
Taking effect in January, passing a school bus illegally will result in a $300 fine. Previously, the fine was $150. If a driver makes a second-offense, they’ll be charged $1,000. Depending on the charged offense, the driver could also face a license suspicion of anywhere from three months to one year.
In Illinois, drivers are not allowed to pass school buses when the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is extended. This means the vehicle is dropping off or picking up passengers. In the past, negligent drivers have injured or killed children in the danger zone, as it’s referred to by the Illinois State Police, while passing a school bus illegally.
Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act
Starting January 1, 2020, adults 21 and older are legally allowed to possess cannabis and purchase cannabis products in licensed stores. There are limitations to possession, however. A single resident of Illinois is only allowed to have 30 grams of raw cannabis, cannabis-infused product or products containing no more than 500 mg of THC, and five grams of cannabis product in concentrated form. Non-residents may purchase half that amount.
In addition to the legalization of cannabis, the expunging of criminal records will also take place. The governor’s clemency process will be used for convictions of up to 30 grams. The expungements will be automatic. For amounts of 30-500 grams, the clemency process applies, but the individual must petition the court to vacate the conviction.
In conjunction with the changes discussed above, a social equity program will be developed for those who directly suffered because of the war on cannabis. Additionally, medical cannabis patients may purchase seeds and grow up to five plants at their residence. The types of business licenses that will be issued include dispensary, infuser, transporter, craft grower, and cultivation center.
In regard to taxes, cannabis products at the wholesale level will be subject to a seven percent tax. At the retail level, the tax percentage is dependent upon the concentration of THC, but the rate will vary between 10% and 25%.
If you have questions about the new laws coming to Illinois is 2020, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We stay up-to-date on all the state’s laws, so we’re prepared to help you understand the impacts that changes could have on you.