Is Your Business Ready for 2020’s Legal Changes?

Is Your Business Ready for 2020’s Legal Changes?

As we have moved into 2020, now is a fitting time to ensure your company handbook is up to date and in compliance with the numerous laws that recently took effect. Below is a quick summary of the many changes that have been enacted in the realm of employment and business law.

Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Provisions

The minimum salary an employee must be paid in order to be considered exempt has increased from $455 per week to $684 per week (or approximately $35,568 annually). Employees who earn less than this amount are eligible for overtime pay for any work over 40 hours in a workweek, regardless of their title or duties. In order to properly be considered exempt, an employee must meet additional requirements, but the salary requirement is critical. Employers, particularly those that pay on a commission basis, should revisit their compensation to ensure their exempt employees are truly exempt. Learn more about this change here.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Illinois was increased to $9.25 per hour as of January 1, 2020. Another increase will occur on July 1, 2020, raising the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour. Thereafter, the minimum wage will increase by $1 annually on the first of January until it reaches $15.00 per hour in 2025.

The minimum wage in Chicago is currently $13 per hour. It is scheduled to increase to $14.00 per hour on July 1, 2020.

Illinois Human Rights Act

The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment. The IHRA now applies to all employers with one or more employees (up from 20 or more). The Act’s protections have broadened to include contractors, consultants, and permit employees, in addition to standard employees.

Workplace Transparency Act

Employers must now provide employees with annual sexual harassment prevention training. Training must provide: (1) an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA; (2) examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment; (3) a summary of relevant federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and (4) a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment. To sign up for workplace training that fulfills these requirements, check out our new webinar page and our in-person workplace training page. Learn more about the training requirements here, and the benefits of regular training here.

Beginning July 1, 2020, the Act also mandates that employers annually disclose settlements and adverse judgments or rulings in which there was an allegation of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. In addition, employers may no longer enter into mandatory arbitration agreements or non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements that cover harassment or discrimination claims, unless certain conditions are met.

Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act Amendments

This act, known as “VESSA,” allows employees who have experienced domestic or sexual violence up to 12 weeks of leave and is designed to allow such employees the ability to maintain their financial security while attempting to exit an unsafe situation. VESSA’s protections have been extended to cover individuals with family members who are victims of gender violence.

Illinois Equal Pay Act Amendments

As of September 29, 2019, under amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act, employers may no longer seek an applicant’s or employee’s wage or salary history. Further, employers may not seek this information from former employers. Read more about this change here.

Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act

Effective January 1, 2020, the AIVIA requires employers to: (i) disclose to applicants that artificial intelligence will be used to evaluate their candidacy; (ii) explain how the relevant artificial intelligence technology operates in the review process; and (iii) describe the characteristics used by artificial intelligence to evaluate candidates. AIVIA also requires employers to obtain an applicant’s consent to use artificial intelligence before recording an interview, and restricts access to video recordings to the individuals necessary to evaluate the candidate. Employers are required to destroy all active and backup copies of collected recordings within 30 days of receiving such a request by an applicant.

Living Donor Protection Act

Employers must allow employees to take a leave of absence pursuant to the Organ Donor Leave Act. Employers can not require employees to use sick or vacation leave before being eligible for organ donation leave and cannot retaliate against employees who exercise their right to take leave.

Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act

Beginning July 1, 2020, hospitality and casino industry employers must provide employees with a personal safety device that can be used to summon help and inform employees of their right to leave a work area if they perceive danger. In addition, employers must provide additional sexual harassment prevention training beyond what is required by the Workplace Transparency Act.

Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

Effective July 1, 2020, employers with at least 50 employees who are physically present in Chicago for the majority of their work time may be subject to the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance requires covered employers to:

  • Provide employees with work schedules at least 10 days before the employee is scheduled to work;
  • Offer work to current employees before offering it to seasonal or temporary employees;
  • Post a notice of employees’ rights under the Ordinance, to be promulgated by the Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection;

Employers who cancel or reduce work with less than 24 hours’ notice to an employee or schedule an employee for a shift that begins less than 10 hours after the prior shift ended may face penalties.

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You can find additional recent legal changes here. Be sure to review your handbooks and company policies to ensure compliance with these legal modifications—a simple review can help protect your business from significant fines and liability. Contact us today to have a seasoned employment and business attorney help you maintain compliance and keep your business running smoothly.

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