Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chicago Amends Ordinances to Require Paid Sick Leave and to Eliminate ID Requirements for Use of Restrooms

The City of Chicago made two key amendments to its City Code addressing two of the hottest topics of 2016 – paid sick leave and transgender rights.

First, the Chicago yesterday joined a number of cities and a handful of states in requiring that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. Calling it “earned sick leave” Mayor Emmanual explained that the ordinance requires employers in the City to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours of work by and employee, with a maximum of five paid sick days earned in a 12 month period. Additionally, employees can carry over a maximum of 2.5 sick days from one year to the next.

The Paid Sick Leave ordinance provides this sick leave benefit for any employee who works 80 or more hours in a 120 day period and the ordinance applies to all employers regardless of the number of individuals they employ. Additionally, under the ordinance, employees may use their paid sick leave for their own illness, the illness of a family member or for health professional appointments. Ordinances in other cities such as Seattle and San Francisco are similar. The ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017.

The City Council also amended its Human Rights Code to remove the requirement that individuals must have a government issued identification which matches the gender of the restroom that the individual wishes to use in public places such as restaurants, bars and stores. This addresses one of the thornier aspects of enforcing transgender rights laws. Many entities settle potential disputes over whether an individual is protected by anti-discrimination laws when choosing a restroom or changing area by relying on the gender indicated on the person’s identification. In Chicago at least, this will not be a sanctioned method of determining gender identity rights from now on, leaving businesses, including local governmental entities grappling with the question of how to determine an individual’s rights when dealing with such issues as restroom use, locker rooms, program participation, name use and a host of other largely unanswered questions about complying with transgender rights laws.

Ancel Glink attorneys can train you and your staff on these cutting edge issues so that your entity avoids gender identity discrimination. Just as importantly, we will answer your questions about how to apply the law, even in the most sensitive or complicated situations, so that the rights of all individuals are respected.  We can answer questions such as whom has superior rights and what to do if a patron is uncomfortable in the restroom or changing area, to how to accommodate the rights of a transgender employee, and many more.

In 75 minutes, the labor and employment attorneys of Ancel Glink can train your staff at your work site to adhere to and enforce gender identity laws in a compliant and sensitive fashion.  Contact your Ancel Glink attorney or Rob Bush at 312-604-9105 or; Margaret Kostopulos at 312-604-9106 or; or Bob McCabe at 847-856-5432 or