East Central Reporter

East Central Reporter

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Rep. Chris Miller questions effectiveness of new sexual harassment legislation

Politics

By East Central Reporter Reports | Aug 16, 2019

Miller
Rep. Chris Miller

Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) wonders how much impact Gov. J.B. Pritzker signing Senate Bill 075, which creates new protections for workers regarding sexual harassment, into law will truly have.

“It’s really hard to legislate civility and there’s so much contradiction and hypocrisy with Pritzker signing this,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “To pass another law, I think the intentions of some might be right, but the reality is it creates the illusion you care and are doing something to change things but the net effect is probably not much.”

SB 075 creates new protections for workers regarding sexual harassment, namely limiting the use of contract provisions designed to keep them quiet such as non-disclosure agreements and arbitration. The new law also extends legal harassment protections to contract workers and consultants, stipulating that in some cases employers are responsible “for harassment of nonemployees by the employer's nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees” if the employer fails to take reasonable corrective measures.

The bill also has special provisions for hotel and casino workers that go into effect over the next 12 months, building on a Chicago ordinance that mandates panic buttons be provided for those who work in isolated spaces that they can easily access and utilize in case of harassment or assault.

With Springfield having had more than its share of struggles with harassment, Miller said he can think of at least one more way voters can take steps to try to make sure that the people at the top are setting the right climate for the entire state.

“I think that character and morality are things elected officials should have,” he said. “When you send good people to Springfield, you don’t typically have to worry about this kind of thing so much. If we can do things to make life better for people in the workplace, it’s a good thing.”

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