New pregnancy discrimination law: What Illinois employers need to know

by Christopher Graham and Joseph Kelly

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If you’re an Illinois employer, regardless of size, you will soon have to deal with a new law about pregnant workers looking for work or already employed.

Effective January 1, 2015, the Illinois Human Rights Act will be amended to prohibit discrimination in the hiring process or during employment because of “pregnancy” which is defined as “pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.” Illinois employers also will be required to provide “pregnant” employees with reasonable accommodations so long as the accommodation doesn’t create an undue hardship for the employer. That’s not all. Illinois employers also will violate the law if they “fail to post, keep posted, or fail to include in any employee handbook information concerning an employee’s rights under the Act, a notice, … summarizing the requirements of the Act and information pertaining to the filing of a charge, including the right to be free from unlawful discrimination and the right to certain reasonable accommodations.”

Check your posters. Check your employee handbook. Don’t discriminate! And don’t forget about federal pregnancy laws…

Illinois employers with 15 or more employees are also subject to: (1) the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act which also prohibits discrimination against a prospective or current employee because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; and (2) the American with Disabilities Act which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant employee if she has a pregnancy-related disability. And Illinois employers with 50 or more employees are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act. EEOC fact sheets, like this one are a good resource if you’re looking for more information.

Tags: Illinois, pregnancy, discrimination, Illinois Human Rights Act

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