Illinois Workers' Rights
Employee Patent Act
The Employee Patent Act provides that a provision in an employment agreement which provides that an employee shall assign (or offer to assign) any of the employee’s rights in an invention to the employer. This provision does not apply to an invention for which no equipment, facilities, trade secret information that was developed entirely on the employee’s own time, unless the invention relates to the employer’s business or research and development of the invention.
Family Military Leave Act
The Family Military Leave Act, 820 ILCS 151/1, provides that any employer employing between 15 and 50 employees must provide up to 15 days of unpaid family military leave to an employee during the time federal or state deployment orders are in effect. 820 ILCS 151/10 (a). An employer with more than 50 employees shall provide up to 30 days of unpaid family military leave to an employee during the time federal or state deployment orders are in effect. 820 ILCS 151/10(b). The employee shall give at least 14 days’ notice of the intended date on which the family military leave will commence if leave will consist of 5 or more consecutive workdays. 820 ILCS 151/10(c).
An employee who exercises the right to family military leave under the Family Military Leave Act, upon expiration of the leave, shall be entitled to be restored to the position the employee held when the leave commenced or to a position with equivalent seniority status, employee benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. The requirements regarding reinstatement do not apply if the employer proves that the employee was not restored as provided under the Act because of conditions unrelated to the employee’s exercise of rights under the Act. 820 ILCS 151/15(a).
Illinois Personnel Record Review Act
The purpose of the Illinois Personnel Record Review Act is to allow Employees to review their personnel records. An employee has the right to request an inspection of his/her personnel documents at least twice per calendar year. The Employer is required to permit the employee to inspect his/her records within (7) seven working days of the request.
Employers must have at least five (5) employees to be subject to this Act.
Illinois Trade Secrets Act
The Illinois Trade Secrets Act was intended to displace conflicting Illinois tort, restitutionary, unfair competition, and other laws that provided civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret.
The Trade Secrets Act allows for injunctions to be granted for actual or threatened misappropriation of “trade secrets” as defined in 765 ILCS 1065/2.Also, affirmative acts to protect a trade secret may be compelled by a court order; 765 ILCS 1065/3(c).
In addition to injunctions, a person may be entitled to recover other damages for misappropriation. Damages can include both the actual loss caused by misappropriation and the unjust enrichment caused my misappropriation that is not taken into account in the computing actual loss. If wilful and malicious misappropriation is found to exist, the court may also award exemplary damages in an amount not exceeding twice any awarded damages; 765 ILCS 1065/4.
Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Action Act
The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Action requires employer to pay their employee wages which are owed to them within a specific time frame. Not only for hourly and salaried employees, but for all levels of compensation including earned vacation and holiday pay, commission, bonus pay, and fringe benefit contributions.
Amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Action Act were signed into law on July 30, 2010 and became effective Jan 1 2011. These amendments changed the scope of coverage, degree of enforcement and increased the penalties for employers who violate the statute’s provisions.
Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act
The Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act requires employers with five (5) employees or more to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to any employee who needs to express breast milk, unless to do so would interrupt workplace operations. If possible, the break time must be concurrent with the employee’s regular break schedule. The employer must make reasonable effort to provide nursing mothers with the appropriate private facilities, other than the employee’s work area or toilet/restroom area.
One Day Rest in Seven Act
The State of Illinois requires that employees are given one day off per week under the “One Day Rest in Seven Act”. However, this Act does not apply to all employees. The “One Day Rest in Seven Act”, does not grant a day off every week for part-time employees, security guards, and other employees who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“One Day Rest in Seven Act” states: Before operating on the first day of the week, which is commonly know as Sunday, every employer shall post in a conspicuous place on the premises, a schedule containing a list of employees who are required or allowed to work on Sunday, and designating the day of rest for each. Anything in this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, “no employee shall be required to work on the day of rest so designated for him” 820 ILCS 140/4.
Social Media – Right to Privacy in the Workplace
Effective January 1, 2013, the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act had been amended to prohibit inquiries by an employer to require an employee or prospective employee to provide his/her password or other related account information in order to gain access to the employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile or on a social networking website or to demand access in any manner to an employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile on any social networking website. This however, does not prevent an employer from maintaining a lawful workplace policy governing electronic or internet usage and/or monitoring the employer’s electronic equipment, electronic mail, etc. The employer may also collect information that is already in the public domain.
Under the Whistleblower Act, an “employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule or regulation.”
The Act also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency or who discloses information in a court, administrative hearing, or before a legislative commission or committee or in any other proceeding in which the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation.