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New Wage Protections for Illinois Workers

The State of Illinois is empowering the Attorney General’s office to take criminal action against employers who engage in unfair labor practices. Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week signed the act, which will create a task force to investigate violations of the state’s employment laws. The measure is aimed at misclassification of workers by their employers that can reduce their rates of pay, as well as ensuring wage minimums and pay schedules are kept, and probing cases of outright wage theft.

The act permits criminal prosecution of violators, shoring up the framework for redress under the civil code. The Worker Protection Task Force will provide local prosecutors with a state-level enforcement tool when the law takes effect in January. The current AG, Kwame Raoul, sponsored similar legislation as a state senator that was vetoed last year by former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Workers in Chicago got a boost last month when city counsellors adopted a predictive scheduling ordinance.