Springfield, IL -(Effingham Radio)- “On behalf of small businesses across Illinois, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is urging Governor Rauner to veto HB 4572, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (Act) to redefine “employer”. HB 4572 sends a negative signal to small businesses considering to locate or expand in Illinois.
The small business exemption in current law provides relieve to small firms of the otherwise disproportionate legal costs they might bear under the law. It preserves a right of “personal” relationships beyond government intervention which is especially important to family-owned businesses. HB 4572 expands to other protections that require analysis such as race where a “disparate impact” analysis is needed. This analysis would be impossible to do if the small business only has one employee.
The process to investigate and adjudicate charges of discrimination is tremendously backlogged and does not provide timely resolution of charges of discrimination for individuals or employers. It takes years to resolve a claim. This legislation will further erode the Department of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission’s limited resources to investigate and adjudicate claims of discrimination. To address the backlog problem, the Illinois Chamber worked with a bipartisan effort to approve SB 20.
Illinois cannot afford another burdensome regulation on small businesses that are already closing their doors and leaving this state due to the current long list of regulations. A veto of HB 4572 by Governor Rauner is imperative to small businesses.”
Currently, “employer” is defined as “any person employing 15 or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation.” HB 4572 would change “15 or more employees” to only “one or more employees”. Today, the Act applies to employers of one or more employees for discrimination involving a physical or mental disability, pregnancy, or sexual harassment. Eleven states maintain an employer definition of 15- 20 or more employees. Fifteen or more employees is consistent with federal discrimination law. Only 14 other states have employment discrimination laws that cover an employer of one or more employee. Of the 14 states, only three are in the Midwest. Neighboring states Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana cover employers with six to eight employees.