By: Jessica Jackler
On July 31, Gov. Pritzker signed into law amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act, which will go into effect on Sept. 29. The amendments will prohibit employers from asking job applicants for information about their past compensation and benefits during the hiring process.
The amendments are intended to help close both racial and gender wage gaps. Statistics show that on average, women in Illinois earn 79 cents to every dollar white males earn, and women of color earn even less.
Workers will be able to seek up to $10,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees, if employers violate the law. The law further protects employees’ right to discuss their compensation and benefits with co-workers to create more transparency in the workplace in connection with equal pay information.
Practice Tip: Employers are now put on notice that if they inquire about pay history as part of the hiring process, it is time to change protocol. Companies should review their written applications and interview questionnaires, and eliminate these questions now to avoid penalties and potential claims by workers in preparation for September.