Villa progresses bill to expand protections against gender violence

SPRINGFIELD – To protect against gender-related violence in the workplace, State Senator Karina Villa moved a bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to clarify areas of the Gender Violence Act in regards to employer accountability.

“Gender-based violence is a serious issue that is happening in all walks of life, from schools to homes to places of business,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This bill aims to make sure those in a position of power are held responsible for protecting their employees and held accountable when they fail.”

House Bill 1363 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 duties of an employee  performing their job was the proximate cause of an injury.

This measure 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.

“Individuals who face gender-based violence, either in the home or their place of work, deserve our support,” Villa said. “This legislation will protect individuals and their loved ones from those who might mean them harm.”

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 800-799-7233.

House Bill 1363 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.