Villa law furthers workplace protections against gender violence

SPRINGFIELD – There will be more protections against gender-related violence in the workplace thanks to a new law passed by State Senator Karina Villa.

“This law aims to make sure those in a position of power are held responsible for protecting their employees and held accountable when they fail,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Work should never feel like an unsafe environment for anyone; employees should feel protected by their employers, especially those more at risk for gender-related violence.”

This new law clarifies when an employer can be held liable for gender-related violence committed in the workplace to include if the employer failed to supervise, train or monitor the employee who engaged in the violence; failed to investigate complaints or reports provided to a supervisor or manager and failed to take remedial measures in response to the complaints; or if the gender-related violence was the proximate cause of an injury.

This law also establishes a four-year statute of limitation for bringing a claim of gender-related violence against an employer. In comparison, the statute of limitations for charges of sexual harassment filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is 300 days.

“Gender-related violence has been a growing issue, taking place in stores, homes and the workplace,” Villa said. “I wish for everyone to feel safer in their day-to-day lives, and this law is a good first step to help women and others who feel threatened in the workplace.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing partner- or gender-related violence, help is available through the Illinois Department of Human Services’ 24-hour hotline at 877-863-6338 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

House Bill 1363 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.