Client Alert: Illinois Workplace Transparency Act & Employee Handbooks
- Review the key provisions summary below.
- Employment handbooks and policies will need to be reviewed for revisions.
Workplace Transparency Act
In 2019, Illinois enacted the Workplace Transparency Act (“WTA”), which contains several provisions that impact — on a going-forward basis — employment, confidentiality, nondisclosure, termination, severance, and settlement agreements with employees. The same provisions that impact such agreements also impact Employee Handbooks and similar policies that are not contracts.
WTA Impact on Employee Handbooks
Most provisions of the law became effective as of January 1, 2020 and apply to agreements entered into, modified, or extended on or after that date. The following is a summary of key requirements under the WTA that impact Employee Handbooks:
- Update to EEO statements. The WTA amended the Illinois Human Rights Act to include not only a person’s actual protected category (race, gender, etc.) but also the perception of the person’s protected category.
- Sexual Harassment Policies. The WTA expanded protections from sexual harassment to all service providers at the company, not just employees. It also makes clear harassment is prohibited regardless of where it occurs, as it does not have to occur in the workplace to be actionable.
- Truthful Statements about Unlawful Employment Practices. Policies may not have the purpose or effect of preventing a prospective or current employee from making truthful statements or disclosures about unlawful employment practices. Several common sections in Employee Handbooks, such as employee conduct and confidentiality, need to be reviewed and revised.
- Illinois Victims' Economic Security & Safety Act. The WTA also amended the Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act ("VESSA") to include not only domestic and sexual violence, but also “gender violence.”
We Can Help You
Our Compensation & Employment Group attorneys would be pleased to discuss with you any of the above provisions of the WTA.