On Aug. 21, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) into law, thereby amending Section 5/2-108 of the Illinois Human Rights Act. This section requires that each employer annually report all adverse judgments and administrative rulings against it to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).
The IDHR recently issued guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), available here, clarifying a number of details regarding this new reporting requirement.
Previously the Illinois Human Rights Act defined an “employer” as a business employing fifteen or more people. Under these amendments to Section 5/2-108, however, any person who employs at least one individual in Illinois now qualifies as an employer, including labor organizations, municipal corporations, and other governmental units or agencies within the state of Illinois, and the state government itself. Beginning July 1, 2020, and by each July 1 thereafter, every employer must report all adverse judgments and administrative rulings from the previous year to the IDHR. This means any final, non-appealable judgment against the employer pertaining to sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination must be reported.
The FAQs make clear that the reporting requirements include any final order issued by a state tribunal, or unit of local government, including the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights, or the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, in addition to court rulings. Judgments entered in jurisdictions outside of Illinois must also be reported so long as they are: (a) in favor of an “employee” as defined in Section 2-101(A) of the IHRA or a “nonemployee” as defined in Sections 2-102(A-10) or 2-102(D-5) of the IHRA; and (b) the judgment or ruling is against an “employer” as defined in Section 2-108(A)(1) of the IHRA.
Employers must report only the total number of adverse judgments or rulings from the preceding year and whether any equitable relief was ordered, and how many fall within each of the following categories:
- Sexual harassment;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of religion;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of age;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of military status or unfavorable discharge from military status;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of any other characteristic protected under the IHRA;
Employers are not required to report settlements as part of their annual disclosures of adverse judgments or administrative rulings. If an employer has not had any adverse judgments or administrative rulings, it does not have to file a report with the IDHR.
The disclosure report for last year, the reporting period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, is due Oct. 31, 2020. In the following years, the deadline will be July 1. The reporting form can be found at www.illinois.gov/dhr and is titled “Form IDHR 2-108.” Employers can either physically file it or email it to IDHR.firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the year, the IDHR will report the aggregated number of rulings based on each of the protected classes. This report will not include any identifying information about employers. Furthermore, the information in the disclosure reports is exempt from disclosure under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and, therefore, will not be made public in response to a FOIA request.
Financial penalties may be imposed for noncompliance.
If you have any questions about your reporting obligations under this change in law, please contact any of Taft Chicago’s Employment and Labor Relations attorneys.