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Part I: Illinois Senate gets package of sexual harassment bills

It might not be a regular occurrence, but there are occasions on which it makes sense to laud government efforts to address problems. It’s good to see the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee approving a package of four legislative proposals to beef up protections for people subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.

The sponsor of the bills, Sen. Melinda Bush, is from Grayslake, a metro area village about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago. "Last year, we dealt with a lot of things that happened under the dome," Bush said of the state Senate.

She said the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention passed a number of recommendations to the Senate to help the legislative body address different aspects of the sexual harassment problem in the private sector.

The task force was formed nearly a year ago when the Senate authorized the legislative inspector general to investigate sexual harassment claims at the Capitol without first getting permission from the state’s ethics commission.

The quartet of bills advanced to the Senate floor with approval of both Democrats and Republicans, a news report stated.

One of the most interesting proposals is Senate Bill 30 (the Workplace Transparency Act) which would prevent employers from forcing employees to sign nondisclosure agreements that would shield sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination in private firms.

Said Bush, "You're seeing these agreements used as ways to protect perpetrators. Victims are not able to talk about the issues or seek civil remedy for them."

We will have more on the legislative package in our next blog post.

Please feel free to contact us if you have been subjected to harassment where you work. Let’s talk about your legal options.

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