Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Creating Worker Protection Unit in Attorney General's Office

August 26, 2019 - CLDC LMCC LECET

Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday creating a Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Attorney General which will protect Illinois workers from wage theft and other unlawful employment practices.

In 2018, Gov. Rauner vetoed substantially similar legislation - SB 193 in the 100th General Assembly - sponsored by then-Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Jay Hoffman. The Chicago Laborers’ District Council was extremely influential in writing this legislation and worked hard to ensure it became law. We appreciate the bill sponsors, Attorney General Raoul, the general assembly, and Governor Pritzker for their determination to protect all Illinois workers from unscrupulous employers.

"When Illinoisans put in a hard day's work, they deserve to be compensated fairly and treated with dignity, and this new Worker Protection Unit will make sure of it," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Attorney General Raoul and Leader Hoffman have led the charge to protect workers' rights, and I'm proud to sign this legislation that ensures the state of Illinois expeditiously prosecutes employers violating state labor laws. Our hardworking residents deserve nothing less."
The new law gives the Attorney General's office the express authority to investigate and file suit against violators of the Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act and the Wage Payment and Collection Act.
The Worker Protection Unit will work collaboratively with the Illinois Department of Labor to detect unlawful conduct but may also take direct legal action against widespread and pervasive wage payment violations and unfair labor practices.
It also creates the Worker Protection Unit Task Force within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to facilitate information sharing and collaboration between local and state prosecutors and regulators as well as promote a statewide outreach and enforcement effort targeting businesses that violate the state's worker protection laws. The task force will report on its work to the governor and General Assembly by December 1, 2020.  

Senate Bill 161 takes effect on January 1, 2020.