Bill Text: IL SB0161 | 2019-2020 | 101st General Assembly | Chaptered


Bill Title: Amends the Attorney General Act. Creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to specified statutes. Provides further powers and requirements of the Attorney General in the Worker Protection Unit. Creates the Worker Protection Task Force. Provides for the purposes and composition of the Task Force. Provides that the Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than December 1, 2020. Repeals the Task Force December 1, 2021.

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Democrat 58-4)

Status: (Passed) 2019-08-23 - Public Act . . . . . . . . . 101-0527 [SB0161 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2019-SB0161-Chaptered.html



Public Act 101-0527
SB0161 EnrolledLRB101 07505 RJF 52549 b
AN ACT concerning State government.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Attorney General Act is amended by adding
Sections 6.3 and 6.4 as follows:
(15 ILCS 205/6.3 new)
Sec. 6.3. Worker Protection Unit.
(a) The General Assembly finds that the welfare and
prosperity of all Illinois citizens and businesses requires the
establishment of a Unit within the Attorney General's Office
dedicated to combatting businesses that underpay their
employees, force their employees to work in unsafe conditions,
and gain an unfair economic advantage by avoiding their tax and
labor responsibilities. The Worker Protection Unit shall be
focused on protecting the State's workforce to ensure workers
are paid properly, guarantee safe workplaces, and allow
law-abiding business owners to thrive through healthy and fair
competition. Businesses that violate the State's worker
protection laws put a greater burden on taxpayers by hurting
the State's ability to provide critical services; compliant
businesses cannot compete against those who gain an unfair
advantage by evading their responsibilities.
(b) There is created within the Office of the Attorney
General a Worker Protection Unit, consisting of Assistant
Attorneys General appointed by the Attorney General, who,
together with other staff as deemed necessary by the Attorney
General, shall have the power and duty on behalf of persons
within this State, to intervene in, initiate, and enforce all
legal proceedings on matters related to the payment of wages,
the safety of the workplace, and fair employment practices,
including, without limitation, the provisions of the
Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the
Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, or
the Wage Payment and Collection Act, whenever the Attorney
General determines that such action is necessary to protect the
rights and interests of Illinois workers and Illinois
businesses.
(c) Prior to initiating an action, the Attorney General
shall conduct an investigation and may: (1) require an
individual or entity to file a statement or report in writing
under oath or otherwise, as to all information the Attorney
General may consider necessary; (2) examine under oath any
person alleged to have participated in or with knowledge of the
alleged violation; or (3) issue subpoenas or conduct hearings
in aid of any investigation.
(d) In an action brought under this Section, the Attorney
General may obtain, as a remedy, monetary damages to the State,
restitution, and equitable relief, including any permanent or
preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other
order, including an order enjoining the defendant from engaging
in a violation, or order any action as may be appropriate. In
addition, the Attorney General may request and the court may
impose a civil penalty against any person or entity found by
the court to have violated the Prevailing Wage Act, the
Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and
Temporary Labor Services Act, the Wage Payment and Collection
Act, or any other law related to the payment of wages, the
safety of the workplace, or fair employment practices, in a sum
not to exceed the maximum amount of any civil penalty
prescribed by law. Neither the State nor an aggrieved
individual may recover monetary relief, including civil
penalties, in more than one proceeding related to the same
violation.
(e) Upon the Attorney General's request, the Illinois
Department of Labor shall provide any materials or documents
already in the Department's possession pertaining to the
enforcement of this Section. The Office of the Attorney General
may use information obtained under this Section, including
information that is designated as and that qualifies for
confidential treatment, which information the Attorney
General's Office shall maintain as confidential, for law
enforcement purposes only, which information may be shared with
other law enforcement officials. Nothing in this Section is
intended to take away or limit any powers of the Attorney
General under common law or other statutory law.
(15 ILCS 205/6.4 new)
Sec. 6.4. Worker Protection Unit Task Force.
(a) There is created a Worker Protection Task Force within
the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. The Task Force
shall be coordinated by the Office of the Attorney General to
promote a statewide outreach and enforcement effort to target
businesses that violate the State's worker protection laws. The
purpose of the Task Force shall be to:
(1) create a coalition in Illinois dedicated to
protecting the State's workforce and law-abiding
businesses;
(2) facilitate the timely sharing of information
between Task Force members relating to suspected worker
exploitation;
(3) promote the refinement of targeting methods and
best practices, and develop strategies to systemically
investigate worker exploitation; and
(4) work cooperatively with labor and community
organizations, businesses and business coalitions, and
other advocacy groups to increase public awareness on the
underground economy in an effort to promote fairness,
combat discrimination, and protect the welfare of the
State.
(b) The Task Force shall consist of:
(1) the Illinois Attorney General;
(2) Assistant Attorneys General, assigned at the
discretion of the Illinois Attorney General;
(3) three elected State's Attorneys of Illinois, or
their designees, selected by the Attorney General;
(4) the Director of Labor or his or her designee;
(5) the Director of Employment Security or his or her
designee;
(6) the Director of Human Rights or his or her
designee; and
(7) the chairperson of the Illinois Workers'
Compensation Commission or his or her designee.
(c) The Task Force shall elect a chairperson from its
membership and shall have the authority to determine its own
meeting schedule, hearing schedule, and agendas. Members of the
Task Force shall serve without compensation.
(d) The Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor
and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than
December 1, 2020.
(e) This Section is repealed December 1, 2021.
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