Many New Laws to Affect Businesses in 2015

The Illinois General Assembly approved several bills in 2014 that will add new regulations to businesses. While some of the bills that were approved and signed into law have merit, most place additional mandates onto the backs of business owners and further define Illinois as a "business-unfriendly" state. New laws that will affect businesses as of January 1 include:

PA 98-0776 (SB 1098) Corporate Liability post dissolution
Allows for a corporation that has been dissolved to continue to be liable up to five years after the dissolution.  Any legitimate claim against the corporation could be from any period before, during, or after dissolution up to five years.  The law reverses a decision made by the Illinois Supreme Court.

PA 98-0774 (HB 5701) ‘Ban the Box’ bill
Prohibits employers from seeking information regarding a potential employee’s criminal history until after an invitation to interview or a conditional offer of employment has been extended.  Intended to allow job seekers with criminal history to be considered on their merits and experience rather than being dismissed out of hand for an offense

PA 98-0862 (HB 5622) Payroll cards
This law establishes requirements and regulations for the use of payroll cards by employers - stored value cards offered by some companies to their employees as an alternative to payroll checks or direct deposit. Payroll cards are similar to debit cards and can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash at ATMs. Regulations include prohibiting the employer from forcing an employee to accept a payroll card in lieu of other payment, and ensuring the employer provides a complete written explanation of the terms and conditions of the payroll card account including any fees that may be involved.

PA 98-0911 (HB 4790) Hair braiding licensure standards
Provides that an individual licensed as a hair braider teacher may practice hair braiding without being licensed as a hair braider.  The purpose of this change is to bring the same standards to barber oversight as is done with cosmetology.

PA 98-1037 (HB 4157) Employee status for interns
Adopts the federal definition of “intern” to the Illinois Human Rights Act, giving employee status to unpaid interns at Illinois businesses for the purpose of sexual harassment claims.  An “intern” is considered an employee if:   the employer & intern agree to no wages; employer is not committed to hiring the person; and the closely supervised work provides experience for the benefit of the person performing the work, but does not displace regular employees.

PA 98-1119 (SB 3405) Protecting small businesses from patent trolls
Any person sending demand letters about patent infringement must have an actual legal claim that is valid. Offenders will be subject to sanctions for engaging in a deceptive business practice.

PA 98-1051 (HB 5563)   Equal pay investigations
Allows Departments of Labor (DOL) and Human Rights (DHR) to combine Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination investigations and investigate an equal pay violation when a sex discrimination violation is also alleged, so that employers do not have to undergo TWO investigations.

PA 98-1050 (HB 8) Workplace pregnancy accommodations 
Provides that it is a civil rights violation for employers: to not to make reasonable accommodations for employees with conditions commonly related to childbirth or pregnancy; to require a job applicant or employee to accept accommodations; to require an employee to take leave for a medical condition related to childbirth or pregnancy; or to retaliate against a person who has requested, attempted to request, used, or attempted to use a reasonable accommodation.

PA 98-0838 (SB 2999) Licensing of roofing contractors
An applicant for licensure must submit to IDFPR evidence that they have an unemployment insurance employer account number issued by IDES, and that there is not a delinquency in payment under the Unemployment Insurance Act.  All persons performing roofing services under the Act shall be licensed as roofing contractors, except for persons who are deemed to be employees of a licensed roofing contractor.

PA 98-0874 (SB 1103) Occupational Safety and Health Act
This new Act, like the two Acts it replaces, applies only to public employers (the federal OSHA Act governs occupational health and safety in the private sector). One new change in the combined Act allows the Attorney General to bring an action in a circuit court to enforce the collection of any civil penalty assessed under the Act.

PA 98-1096 (SB 1778) Resale Dealers Act
The act requires that a resale dealer maintain a standard record book that has been approved by local law enforcement. It provides that the resale dealer shall record a detailed account of each transaction in the record book and establishes additional requirements concerning record books. Further provides that every resale dealer shall require that ID be shown by each person selling any goods, articles, or other things to the resale dealer and establishes additional requirements concerning acceptable forms of ID. It establishes criminal offenses that a person may be charged with for violating the Act, and amends the Pawnbroker Regulation Act to repeal a provision concerning requirements for unregistered buyers conducting business at temporary buying locations. Defines resale dealer.

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