Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks at a press conference regarding the Senate sexual harassment task forceSPRINGFIELD – Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Co-Chairs State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) issued a joint statement following the release of the task force’s report:

“The stories from victims of sexual harassment and discrimination that were shared with the task force over the past year were eye-opening experiences that needed to be heard,” Bush said. “As a result of the victims’ bravery, we passed several laws last year that were in response to things we heard and recommendations that were made during task force hearings. We’ve worked hard to pass meaningful legislation to protect victims and prevent harassment and discrimination, but there’s still work to be done. I promise to continue fighting to change our laws, and our culture.”

“This report is a crucial next step, however it is not a final one,” Tracy said. “There is still important work to do, but we remain committed to ensuring that everyone can be assured of a harassment free workplace."

The task force report can be found here.

A list of new laws that deal with sexual harassment and discrimination can be found below, along with a list of bills being considered that are based on recommendations made during task force hearings.

12 new laws that are a result of, or were supported by, the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination & Harassment Awareness and Prevention

SB 402 – SEXUAL HARASSMENT AWARENESS TRAINING. Requires lobbyists, legislators and state employees to receive sexual harassment training, clarifies the procedure for making complaints of sexual harassment against state officials, legislators, state employees and lobbyists, and allows the appropriate ethics commission to adjudicate sexual harassment claims and impose penalties (Effective November 16, 2017)

HB 138 – FAST-TRACKED INVESTIGATIONS of HARASSMENT CLAIMS REGARDING the LEGISLATURE. Made numerous changes to reform the legislative ethics process, most notably, allows the Legislative Inspector General to investigate sexual harassment claims without first obtaining approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission and extended the statute of limitations for filing a charge with IDHR from 180 days to 300 days (Effective June 8, 2018)

SB 2271 – STATUTE of LIMITATIONS EXTENTION for CERTAIN SEXUAL OFFENSES. Extends the statute of limitations for offenses involving sexual conduct or sexual penetration, where the victim was 18 years or older, to allow the prosecution to be commenced within one year after discovery of the offense by the victim. (Effective January 1, 2019)

SB 3404 – SURVIVORS BILL of RIGHTS. Provides victims of sexual assault or abuse rights to: shower at the hospital post-examination, obtain a copy of the police report relating to the incident, have a sexual assault advocate and a support person of their choosing present for medical and physical examinations, retain their own counsel, as well as prohibits law enforcement from prosecuting the victim for a crime related to use of alcohol, cannabis, or a controlled substance based on the sexual assault forensic evidence collected from the victim. (Effective January 1, 2019)

SB 20 – MORE TIME for FILING CLAIMS for HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Extended the time for filing an administrative claim under the Illinois Human Rights Act from 180 days to 300 days and made changes intended to reduce the backlog of harassment and discrimination claims at the Department of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission. (Effective August 24, 2018)

HB 4242 – PUBLIC TRANSPARENCY of GOVERNMENTAL SEXUAL HARASSMENT or DISCRIMINATION. Requires units of local government, school districts, community college districts, or other local taxing bodies to provide notice to the public if it enters into a severance agreement with an employee or contractor accused of sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. (Effective August 23, 2018)

HB 4243 – PROHIBITION of TAX FUNDS for SEXUAL HARASSMENT SETTLEMENTS or CLAIMS. Prohibits public funds, including pay and allowances of members of the G.A., to be used for a payout for sexual harassment claims against a legislator. (Effective August 10, 2018)

SB 3604 – PROHIBITION of SEVERANCE PAY for SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. Requires that severance pay from a local government contract does not exceed more than 20 weeks of compensation and prohibits severance pay when the employee has been fired for misconduct, including sexual harassment. (Effective January 1, 2019)

SB 405 – SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY REQUIREMENT for EDGE TAX CREDIT BENEFICIARIES. Requires a sexual harassment policy for all companies that make a bid under the state's procurement code and requires companies that claim EDGE credits to include their sexual harassment policy in their annual report to the state. (Effective January 1, 2019)

SR 1561 & HR 783 – REQUESTS INVESTIGATION of ILLINOIS FORD MOTOR PLANTS REGARDING CLAIMS of HARASSMENT CULTURE. Urged the state and federal government to investigate the culture of harassment at Ford Motor Company’s Illinois plants, called for a review of United Automobile Worker’s possible breach of its duty of fair representation to union members who reported harassment, and called on the governor to review all state contracts with Ford for compliance with anti-harassment laws. (Adopted).

HB 4953 – PREVENTION TRAINING for PROFESSIONAL LICENSE APPLICANTS. Requires Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to provide a sexual harassment training program and requires each applicant and license renewal applicant to complete this training. (Effective January 1, 2019)

HB 5148 – SEXUAL HARASSMENT AWARENESS EDUCATION for ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. Requires course material and instruction on sex education in grades 6 through 12 to include discussion of what constitutes sexual consent and what may be considered sexual harassment or sexual assault, with an emphasis on the workplace environment and life on a college campus. (Effective August 3, 2018)

Current legislation based on recommendations made during task force hearings

SB 30 – WORKPLACE TRANSPARENCY ACT is aimed at protecting employees from being forced to sign nondisclosure agreements relating to sexual harassment, retaliation and unlawful discrimination.

SB 31 – ENDS EXEMPTIONS FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES of OFFICIALS by deleting the exemption of “immediate personal staff” of elected public officials from the definition of “employee” in the Human Rights Act.

SB 74 – STRENGTHENS INDEPENDENT POWERS of the LEGISLATIVE INSPECTOR GENERAL, allowing him/her to investigate complaints without first getting approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission.

SB 75 – HOTEL and CASINO EMPLOYEE SAFETY ACT, requiring hotels and casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make panic buttons available to certain employees. Prohibits retaliation against an employee for using a panic button, availing himself or herself of the protections afforded by an anti-sexual harassment policy, or disclosing, reporting, or testifying about violations of the act.

SB 1588 – CREATION of the SEXUAL HARASSMENT NO CONTACT ORDER, a new civil remedy for cases where relief is unavailable under any other existing protective order.

- Includes the Workplace Transparency Act (limitations on NDAs, forced arbitration clauses, non-disparagement clauses)
- Amends definition of sexual harassment to include “on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived sex or gender”
- Requires private employers to have sexual harassment prevention training
- Includes independent contractors as employees under the Illinois Human Rights Act
- Requires large employers in the state to disclose the number of sexual harassment settlements/actions against them
- Prohibits the use of NDAs for low-wage workers
- Includes sunshine in litigation – provides no court shall enter an order or judgment which has the effect of concealing a public hazard
- Expands Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act so that victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence can take unpaid leave from work


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