The Governor of Illinois recently signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act that extends its protections against sexual harassment to unpaid interns. The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2015. Before the amendment, the protections against sexual harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act were only available to employees. Illinois employers should become aware of the new law and get ready to apply their sexual harassment policies and procedures to unpaid interns. Employee handbooks should be revised accordingly.
There is also an ongoing effort in Illinois to pass legislation that would extend the coverage of the Illinois Human Rights Act to domestic workers. This would provide maids, nannies and other domestic workers with the right to file claims for sexual harassment in connection with household work.