On August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Public Act 101-0221, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act, creating new protections for employees and contractors and rules for employers regarding sexual harassment. Most public entities are aware that the Act requires all employers in Illinois to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. However, a reminder is necessary that it also requires that public entities report all adverse judgments and administrative rulings against it from the preceding calendar year to the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Adverse judgments and administrative rulings are any final and non-appealable judgments issued in an employee’s favor and against an employer. Examples of administrative rulings include final orders issued by the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights or the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, while examples of non-appealable judgments include those issued by state circuit courts and federal courts.
Employers are not required to report settlements as part of their annual disclosure report. However, the IDHR has the right to request information regarding past settlements as part of investigations of pending discrimination charges. The IDHR may request the number of settlements from “the preceding five years or less” at the direction of the agency. If an employer has no adverse judgments or administrative rulings entered against it in the listed categories, the employer does not have to file a report with the IDHR for that year.
For more information on the required reporting categories, please see Section 2-108(B). Failure to comply with the requirements mentioned above may result in financial penalties. In preparation for the reporting mandate, employers should continue to remain vigilant about record keeping, since accurate records will be important to ensure compliance with the WTA’s reporting requirements.
Marlene Fuentes is an associate in Tressler’s Government Practice Group. Marlene’s practice focuses on day-to-day operations and administrative proceedings for government clients, particularly educational institutions and municipalities. She has extensive experience in administrative hearings, student discipline, labor and employment, board policies, general and special education matters, litigation and contractual issues. Prior to joining Tressler, Marlene was Senior Assistant General Counsel for the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, a position covering approximately 400,000 students in over 600 schools across Chicago. In this role, Marlene served as the lead legal counsel for CPS and Chicagoland charter schools for all matters stemming from IDEA and Section 504. She has extensive experience in due process litigation, administrative hearings and handling ISBE and OCR complaints.