Law Protecting the Rights of Pregnant Women in Illinois Takes Effect January 1st

CHICAGO, IL -  With 2015 quickly approaching, Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) Director Rocco Claps is reminding employers that a measure providing job protection for pregnant women goes into effect on January 1st and employers are required to post information about it in the workplace.

Public Act 98-1050, sponsored by State Rep. Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), and signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn in August, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations and safe working conditions for expectant mothers so that they can continue working without fear of endangering their health or the health of the child. Provisions include limits on heavy lifting and assistance in manual labor; access to places to sit; more frequent restroom breaks; time off to recover from childbirth; and private break space for breast-feeding and expressing breast milk.

A poster summarizing requirements of the new law, including the right to be free from unlawful discrimination and information on how to file a discrimination charge, can be downloaded from the IDHR website at www.Illinois.gov/IDHR. The poster and detailed fact sheets about the law are available in English and Spanish.

“It’s important for employers to ensure that they post this information in a conspicuous location in the workplace, where notices to employees are usually posted,” Director Claps said. “We have made the process as easy as possible by providing it for download from our website.”

Anyone who needs help under the new law or has questions may contact IDHR at 312-814-6200 (Chicago), (217) 785-5100 (Springfield), or 866-740-3953 (TTY).

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age (40 and over), marital status, disability, military status, familial status, sexual orientation (including gender identity) or unfavorable military discharge.  Further information is available at www.illinois.gov/dhr