Illinois has taken a significant step forward in the fight against gender-based violence with the recent amendments to the Illinois Gender Violence Act (IGVA). These changes aim to enhance protections for employees who have experienced gender-based violence, ensuring a safe and inclusive work environment.
- Expanded Definitions
The revised IGVA broadens the scope of what constitutes gender-based violence. It now includes not only physical acts but also psychological, emotional, and economic abuse. This expansion recognizes that violence can take many forms and ensures that victims are protected regardless of the type of abuse they have endured.
- Protections for All Employees
Previously, the IGVA only applied to employees who worked for an employer with 15 or more employees. However, the recent changes have eliminated this threshold, extending protections to all employees, regardless of the size of their employer. This means that even those working for small businesses can seek redress under the IGVA if they experience gender-based violence.
- Reasonable Accommodations
One of the significant additions to the IGVA is the requirement for employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of gender-based violence. Reasonable accommodations may include changes to work schedules, relocation of the employee’s workspace, or implementing additional security measures. These accommodations aim to ensure that employees can continue their work without fear of retaliation or further harm.
- Confidentiality and Privacy
To protect the privacy and confidentiality of victims, the IGVA now prohibits employers from disclosing information related to an employee’s status as a victim of gender-based violence, unless required by law or with the employee’s consent. This provision encourages victims to come forward and seek help without the fear of their private information being exposed.
- Training and Awareness
The amendments to the IGVA emphasize the importance of education and awareness in preventing and addressing gender-based violence in the workplace. Employers are now required to provide training to their employees on recognizing and responding to gender-based violence. By fostering a culture of understanding and support, workplaces can become safer and more inclusive environments.
The recent changes to the Illinois Gender Violence Act represent a significant advancement in protecting employees from gender-based violence. These amendments expand the scope of the law, ensure equal protection for all employees, mandate reasonable accommodations, safeguard confidentiality, and promote education and awareness.
At Osborne Employment Law, we are dedicated to helping employees understand their rights and navigate the complexities of employment law. If you have questions about the Illinois Gender Violence Act or need assistance in addressing gender-based violence in your workplace, our experienced attorneys are here to provide guidance and support.