On July 31, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law House Bill 834 (the “Bill”), which amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (“IEPA”) to prohibit employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s salary history.  The law becomes effective on September 29, 2019.

Prohibition on Salary History Inquiries

Illinois’s new ban on salary history inquiries will prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on their current or prior salary and from requesting or requiring that applicants disclose information about their salary history as a condition of being interviewed, considered for employment or offered employment. Employers also will be prohibited from soliciting salary history information from an applicant’s former employer.  However, this subsection does not apply if the applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is one of the employer’s current employees.

The amendment also prohibits employers from factoring salary history information into compensation or hiring decisions even if an applicant provides the information voluntarily without prompting.

Employers who violate these new provisions can be liable for a combination of (1) up to $10,000 in special damages; (2) compensatory damages, to the extent they exceed an award of special damages; and (3) reimbursement of the plaintiff’s costs and attorneys’ fees.

Ban on Pay Secrecy Agreements

The Bill also amends the IEPA to prohibit employers from requiring employees to refrain from disclosing information about their compensation and benefits.  Employers, however, may still prohibit human resources employees from disclosing the compensation information of other employees without their prior written consent.

Amendment to Employer Defenses

The IEPA requires employers to compensate employees equally for “substantially similar work,” regardless of an employee’s race[1] or sex.  Under the IEPA, an employer will not be held liable if an alleged disparity in pay is due to, among other things, a differential based on any other factor than: (i) sex or race or (ii) a factor that would constitute unlawful discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act.  However, this “catch-all” defense will now require employers to show that the pay differential “(A) is not based on or derived from a differential in compensation based on race or another protected characteristic; (B) is job-related with respect to the position and consistent with a business necessity; and (C) accounts for the differential.”

From “Equal” to “Substantially Similar”

Currently, the IEPA prohibits employers from paying employees of different sexes or races at different rates for “work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility.”  As amended, the IEPA now states that employers may not pay differently for “work on jobs the performance of which requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility.”  This change codifies an approach taken by Illinois courts.

Implications

Before the IEPA amendments take effect on September 29, 2019, Illinois employers should:

  • Review hiring practices to ensure compliance with the ban on salary inquiries;
  • Provide training to employees tasked with interviewing and hiring responsibilities; and
  • Review compensation structures to determine the reasons for pay differentials.

 

[1] The text of the IEPA specifically limits “race” protections to African-American employees. 820 ILCS 112/10(a).

Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Edward Young Edward Young

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all…

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all aspects of employment law, with a concentration on litigating complex employment disputes of all types before federal and state courts throughout the country, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state and local human rights commissions and arbitral tribunals (e.g., FINRA and AAA).  In particular, Eddie has successfully litigated employment-related disputes alleging breach of non-compete agreements, theft of trade secrets, discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, wage and hour violations, including employee misclassification claims, breach of contract, defamation, fraud and other business-related torts.  Eddie has obtained a world-wide injunction to enforce a client’s non-competition restriction on a former executive, successfully defended a client through summary judgment and appeal against retaliation claims brought by a former General Counsel, represented Fortune 500 companies in defense of high-profile harassment claims associated with the #metoo movement, and provided representation to several professional sports leagues.  He also has significant appellate experience, including successfully representing clients before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First, Second and Seventh Circuits, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.  Eddie often draws on his litigation experience to help clients avoid the courtroom by effectuating positive change in the workplace through impactful training, counseling and developing robust employment policies.

Working in a wide range of industries, Eddie represented clients in food services, financial services, medical devices, telecommunications, higher education, sports, retail, real estate and others.

Eddie has been recognized as “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers in America since 2021 and as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers since 2017. He also regularly advises clients, writes and speaks on cutting-edge legal issues, including the use of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, and legal issues arising from the collection and use of employee biometric information.

Eddie maintains an active pro bono practice, including on-going representation of a certified class of approximately 65,000 visually disabled Chicagoans in litigation challenging the City’s lack of accessible pedestrian crosswalks.  Eddie is also a member of the Firm’s Pro-Bono Committee and is a three-time recipient of the Firm’s “Golden Gavel” award for his significant pro bono contributions.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Eddie was a cum laude graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He also obtained a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Business. He began his practice at a national management-side employment law firm, and has also worked in the corporate human resources department of a national tax consulting firm and as a Fellow with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Photo of Hannah Morris Hannah Morris

Hannah D. Morris is an associate in the Labor Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Counseling Group.

During her time at Proskauer, Hannah has assisted in litigation and investigation matters involving workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. She also assists employers…

Hannah D. Morris is an associate in the Labor Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Counseling Group.

During her time at Proskauer, Hannah has assisted in litigation and investigation matters involving workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. She also assists employers in counseling matters, such as drafting employment handbooks and researching workplace policies.

Hannah earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. While in law school, she served as a Research Assistant for Professor Richard J. Bonnie working on matters related to juvenile justice. Additionally, she interned for the Office of the Public Defender for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.

Prior to law school, Hannah was a Teach for America Corps member teaching Fourth Grade in Eastern North Carolina.

Photo of Steven J. Pearlman Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular…

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.

Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.

Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an “expert in his field.” Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a “Top Mind.” Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a “Rising Star Under 40” in the area of employment law and 1 of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for “Distinguished Legal Writing.”

Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.