April 14, 2020 Cynthia 0 Comments

At the beginning of the year the State of Illinois enacted the Workplace Transparency Act (“Act”).  The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act protects employees by prohibiting employers from trying to keep employees from talking about their employer’s unlawful employment practices and signing unfair confidentiality agreements.

The Act Expands Definition of Employees and Employers

The Act protects employees by expanding the definition of employee to include contractors and consultants.  

The Act also expands the definition of employer defining employer as any person employing 15 or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within a calendar year. The Act further expands the definition of employer to include any person employing one or more employees when the complaint alleges civil rights violation due to unlawful discrimination based upon the employee’s physical or mental disability unrelated to ability, pregnancy, or sexual harassment.

The Act Prohibits Employers From Contracting Away an Employee's Right to Make Truthful Statements About Unlawful Employment Practices

The Act protects employees by not allowing employers to try to make employees sign agreements that restrict an employee, prospective employee or former employing from reporting any allegations of unlawful conduct to federal, State or local officials for investigation. 

The Act also voids any clause to an agreement for employment or continued employment that prevents an employee or prospective employee from making truthful statements about the employer’s unlawful employment practices.

In addition, the Act voids any clause to an agreement the employer tries to make an employee or prospective employee sign which requires them to waive, arbitrate, or otherwise diminish any existing or future claims, rights or benefits related to an unlawful employment practice of the employer to which the employee would otherwise be entitled to pursue under law.  Note, this clause does not include former employees.

The Act Provides That Settlement and Termination Agreements May only be Confidential Under Certain Circumstances

The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act protects employees from confidentiality agreements.  The Act states that agreements entered into between an employee pursuant to a settlement or termination agreement that includes promises of confidentially related to the unlawful employment practice are okay so long as: 

  1. it is the employee’s preference to have the confidentiality clause and the clause is beneficial to both parties;
  2. the employer notifies the employee of their right to have an attorney of his or her choice to review the settlement or termination agreement prior to signing;
  3. there is valid, bargained for consideration in exchange for the confidentiality;
  4. the agreement does not waive any claims of unlawful employment practices that accrue after the date of execution of the agreement;
  5. the agreement is in writing and given to the employee for 21 calendar days to consider the agreement before signing;
  6. the employee has 7 calendar days after signing the agreement to revoke the agreement.

Integrate Legal Can Help

The Act further protects employees by granting them reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred for challenging a contract that violates the Act.

Integrate Legal is available to help you if your employer is not complying with the Workplace in Transparency Act. Set up a free consultation with me so we can discuss your next steps.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Integrate Legal, PC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act Protects Employees was last modified: December 10th, 2021 by Cynthia