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Illinois Issues Guidance For Employers’ Requirement To Report Adverse Judgments And Administrative Rulings


After state lawmakers passed sweeping expansions to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) in August 2019, employers have been left in the dark as to how the state would interpret and enforce the new requirement forcing employers to report adverse judgments or administrative rulings regarding unlawful discrimination to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). This has been particularly frustrating given that the change went into effect on July 1, 2020. Fortunately, the IDHR just issued guidance for these requirements. What do Illinois employers need to know in order be ready to comply with their reporting obligations under the IHRA?

What Do The Amendments Require?

The IDHR’s guidance is reliant upon the amendments to the IHRA, so it is necessary to provide some background about the amendments themselves. The IHRA now provides that, beginning July 1, 2020, employers must provide the following information to the IDHR on an annual basis: (1) the total number of adverse judgments or administrative rulings during the preceding year, (2) whether any equitable relief was ordered against the employer, and (3) a categorical breakdown of the total number of adverse judgments or administrative rulings. Moreover, employers’ reports must not contain the names of the alleged victims of harassment or discrimination.

These requirements raise several questions for employers:

Plainly, the amendments to the IHRA impose several additional requirements and penalties upon employers. With this background in mind, we can look to the IDHR’s recent guidance.

What Does The IDHR’s Guidance Provide?

Perhaps most significantly, the IDHR’s recent guidance clarifies the timeline and methods for which employers must report adverse judgments and administrative rulings to the agency. With respect to employers’ timeline for reporting, the IDHR identified the following reporting periods and deadlines:

The guidance permits employers to report adverse judgments and administrative rulings via email using a form provided by the IDHR. That form is now available from the IDHR.

Of further note, the IDHR’s guidance provides other relief and burdens for employers. With respect to the former, the IDHR explained in its guidance that decisions in unemployment insurance proceedings are not subject to the IHRA’s annual reporting requirements and need not be included in employers’ disclosures. As to employers’ burdens, on the other hand, the IDHR has taken a broad position with respect to employers’ reporting requirements. Specifically, the IDHR has advised that employers are required to report adverse judgments and administrative rulings from outside of Illinois. Additionally, the IDHR’s guidance does not address the potential situation of an employer having no adverse judgments or administrative rulings from within Illinois, but having such events occur outside of the state. 

What’s Next?

In any event, the scope of the IDHR’s interpretation is far-reaching. It remains to be seen whether this interpretation will survive a legal challenge, but employers should be prepared to comply with the IDHR’s expansive reading of the IHRA for the time being. 

Fisher Phillips is pleased to offer additional guidance as to employers’ reporting requirements and obligations pursuant to the IHRA. Should you have any questions, please contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any attorney in our Chicago office. We will continue to monitor any further developments and provide updates on this and other labor and employment issues affecting Illinois employers, so make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ alert system to gather the most up-to-date information. 

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific state law. This article is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

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