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State Labor Laws, 2003 - page 12 / 27





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State Labor Laws, 2003

zation employee, and provisions establish- ing that no strike or disputes will be engaged in by the labor organization employees.

The prevailing wage law was amended to cover all projects financed in whole or in part with funds from the Department of Com- merce and Community Affairs under the Illi- nois Renewable Fuels Development Program Act for which there is no project labor agree- ment. The law also added provisions speci- fying that the wage for a tradesman perform- ing maintenance is equivalent to that of a tradesman engaged in construction, and mak- ing it mandatory to post the prevailing wage rates for each craft or type of worker or me- chanic needed on the project at the project site at a location that is easily accessible to the workers engaged on the project.

Family issues. The Department of Com- merce and Community Affairs may estab- lish a family-friendly workplace initiative. The Department may develop a program to annually collect information regarding the State’s private eligible employers providing the most family-friendly benefits to their employees. The same program may be es- tablished for public employers. Employers chosen by the Department may be recog- nized with annual “family-friendly work- place” awards and a Statewide information and advertising campaign publicizing the employers’ awards, their contributions to family-friendly childcare, and the methods they used to improve the dependent care ex- periences of their employees’ families.

AVictims’Economic Security and Safety Act was enacted. Under this act, the State, any unit of local government or school board, or any employer of 50 or more employees must allow an employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or who has a family or household member who is a victim to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period and to maintain health benefits during the leave. Leave may be taken to: (A) seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries caused by the domestic or sexual vio- lence; (B) obtain services from a victim ser- vices organization; (C) obtain psychological or other counseling; (D) participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relo- cating, or taking other actions to increase the safety of the employee or the employee’s family or household member from future domestic or sexual violence, or to ensure eco- nomic security; or (E) seek legal assistance or remedies including preparing for or par- ticipating in any civil or criminal legal pro- ceeding related to or derived from domestic or sexual violence. If possible, the employee

is to provide the employer with at least 48 hours’ advance notice of his or her intention to take the leave. The employer may require the employee to provide certification of the need for the leave. Upon returning, an em- ployee is to be restored to the same or an equivalent position with no loss of any ac- crued employment benefit. Employment discrimination is prohibited against an indi- vidual because he or she is perceived to be a victim of domestic or sexual violence.

Equal employment opportunity. The State enacted the Equal Pay Act of 2003. Under the Act no employer with four or more em- ployees may discriminate between employ- ees, in the matter of the wage rate paid, on the basis of sex for the same or substantially similar work on the performance of jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, performed under similar working conditions unless payment is based upon seniority, merit, production quality or quantity, or a differential factor other than sex. Employ- ers may not interfere with the employee’s exercise of his or her rights under the Act, discharge the employee because the em- ployee filed a charge, has given or is about to give information in a proceeding, or has tes- tified or is about to testify in such a proceed- ing. Employers found in violation will be required to pay the wage differential to the affected employees and pay legal costs and damages. Violators may also be subject to a civil fine of up to $2,500 per violation. No- tices regarding this Act are to be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises of the employer where employee notices are cus- tomarily posted.

The Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 was enacted. This act prohibits any unit of State, county, or local government from excluding a person from participation in, denying a per- son the benefits of, or subjecting a person to discrimination under any program or activity on the grounds of his or her race, color, or national origin, and from using criteria or meth- ods of administration that have the effect of subjecting individuals to such discrimination. Any party aggrieved by a violation may bring a lawsuit, in a State circuit court, against the offending unit of government.

It is now a civil rights violation for an employer to impose a restriction that has the effect of prohibiting a language from be- ing spoken by an employee in communica- tions that are unrelated to the employee’s duties. “Language” is defined as being a person’s native tongue.

The State Lawsuit Immunity Act was amended to provide that a current, former or prospective employee of the State who is


Monthly Labor Review

January 2004

aggrieved by any conduct or action or inac- tion of the State that would constitute a vio- lation of the Federal Age Discrimination Act of 1967, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the Federal Americans with Dis- abilities Act of 1990, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may bring a civil action under that Act against the State. In addition, an employee of the State who is aggrieved by any conduct or action or inaction of the State that would constitute a violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 may bring a civil action under thatAct against the State.

A resolution was adopted creating a 10- member Commission on Opportunity in State Public Construction to undertake a comprehensive study to determine the exist- ence and the extent of racial and gender dis- crimination on public construction contracts in the State. This determination shall be ac- complished via public hearings and social- scientific research. If such discrimination is discovered, the Commission is to develop policy recommendations to remedy the dis- crimination. If the Commission determines that there are racial and gender-neutral barri- ers to minority and female participation on State public construction projects, the Com- mission is to develop policy recommenda- tions to reduce the barriers to full participa- tion. The Commission will have investiga- tory powers and is to deliver a report of its findings, the transcripts of its public hear- ings, and its research to the Governor and the General Assembly by June 30, 2004.

Private employment agencies. The Day and Temporary Labor Services Act was amended to provide that third-party employers are prohibited from entering into contracts for the employment of day or temporary labor- ers with any person or entity not registered as a day and temporary labor service agency. The Department of Labor was authorized to inspect contracts for the employment of all day or temporary laborers entered into by a third-party employer if the department has received a complaint indicating that the third party employer may have contracted with an unregistered agency. Upon request, the department will provide to a third-party employer a list of entities registered as day and temporary labor service agencies. This list will also be available on the Internet.

The ban on the employment of any pro- fessional strikebreaker in the place of an employee, whose work has ceased as a di- rect consequence of a lockout or strike, was amended to also prohibit an employer from knowingly contracting with a day and tem- porary labor service agency to provide a

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