Regulations and amendments impact all employers doing business in Illinois but two specifically relate to construction companies and medical staffing agencies
The Illinois legislature has been actively passing laws that impact employers. The following summarizes three recent bills that have been enacted.
Illinois CROWN Act
The law, “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (CROWN) Act, was passed and amends the definition of “race,” to include “traits associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.” Effective January 1, 2023, the amendments apply to the employment, housing, financial transactions, and public accommodations sectors. Illinois e-News release
Contractors Liable for Subcontractor’s Failure to Pay Employee Wages
The Illinois Wage Payment & Collections Act was amended to provide greater protection for individuals working in the construction trades against wage theft. Every general contractor, construction manager, or “primary contractor,” working on the projects included in the bill’s purview will be liable for wages that have not been paid by a subcontractor on any contract entered into after July 1, 2022, including unpaid fringe benefits plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Applies to primary contractors engaged in “erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building structure, or other private work” with a value of $20,000.
Oversight of Medical Staffing Agencies
HB 4666, became effective July 1, 2022, and imposes numerous compliance standards on medical staffing agencies that operate in the state. The law heightens license applications, employment applications, and disclosure requirements to the Illinois Department of Labor. It prohibits staffing agencies from negotiating certain terms of employment with nurses and CNAs and increases penalties for violations and requires provisions in contracts between the agencies and health care facilities.
All employers doing business in Illinois should be aware of the restrictions surrounding the CROWN Act, whereas construction companies and medical staffing agencies should dive deeper into these regulations to ensure compliance.
With regard to the CROWN Act, take a look at or touch your hair. If that is how your hair naturally grows, and you haven’t had to spend time straightening it to fit an accepted or perceived norm, count yourself lucky. Employees with hair types that are naturally curly, coiled, or styled in a way that’s protective or cultural (such as braids or twists), have faced reprimand, loss of job, or even forced cutting to comply with what one segment of society deems appropriate.
The CROWN Act has now been passed in 17 states. It is necessary because it ensures that employers, schools, businesses, and courts recognize that the regulation of Black hair—based on an unspoken assumption that straight or softly curled hair is considered professional—is race discrimination.