Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB0161
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Full Text of SB0161  101st General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Attorney General Act is amended by adding
5Sections 6.3 and 6.4 as follows:
6    (15 ILCS 205/6.3 new)
7    Sec. 6.3. Worker Protection Unit.
8    (a) The General Assembly finds that the welfare and
9prosperity of all Illinois citizens and businesses requires the
10establishment of a Unit within the Attorney General's Office
11dedicated to combatting businesses that underpay their
12employees, force their employees to work in unsafe conditions,
13and gain an unfair economic advantage by avoiding their tax and
14labor responsibilities. The Worker Protection Unit shall be
15focused on protecting the State's workforce to ensure workers
16are paid properly, guarantee safe workplaces, and allow
17law-abiding business owners to thrive through healthy and fair
18competition. Businesses that violate the State's worker
19protection laws put a greater burden on taxpayers by hurting
20the State's ability to provide critical services; compliant
21businesses cannot compete against those who gain an unfair
22advantage by evading their responsibilities.
23    (b) There is created within the Office of the Attorney



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1General a Worker Protection Unit, consisting of Assistant
2Attorneys General appointed by the Attorney General, who,
3together with other staff as deemed necessary by the Attorney
4General, shall have the power and duty on behalf of persons
5within this State, to intervene in, initiate, and enforce all
6legal proceedings on matters related to the payment of wages,
7the safety of the workplace, and fair employment practices,
8including, without limitation, the provisions of the
9Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the
10Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, or
11the Wage Payment and Collection Act, whenever the Attorney
12General determines that such action is necessary to protect the
13rights and interests of Illinois workers and Illinois
15    (c) Prior to initiating an action, the Attorney General
16shall conduct an investigation and may: (1) require an
17individual or entity to file a statement or report in writing
18under oath or otherwise, as to all information the Attorney
19General may consider necessary; (2) examine under oath any
20person alleged to have participated in or with knowledge of the
21alleged violation; or (3) issue subpoenas or conduct hearings
22in aid of any investigation.
23    (d) In an action brought under this Section, the Attorney
24General may obtain, as a remedy, monetary damages to the State,
25restitution, and equitable relief, including any permanent or
26preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other



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1order, including an order enjoining the defendant from engaging
2in a violation, or order any action as may be appropriate. In
3addition, the Attorney General may request and the court may
4impose a civil penalty against any person or entity found by
5the court to have violated the Prevailing Wage Act, the
6Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and
7Temporary Labor Services Act, the Wage Payment and Collection
8Act, or any other law related to the payment of wages, the
9safety of the workplace, or fair employment practices, in a sum
10not to exceed the maximum amount of any civil penalty
11prescribed by law. Neither the State nor an aggrieved
12individual may recover monetary relief, including civil
13penalties, in more than one proceeding related to the same
15    (e) Upon the Attorney General's request, the Illinois
16Department of Labor shall provide any materials or documents
17already in the Department's possession pertaining to the
18enforcement of this Section. The Office of the Attorney General
19may use information obtained under this Section, including
20information that is designated as and that qualifies for
21confidential treatment, which information the Attorney
22General's Office shall maintain as confidential, for law
23enforcement purposes only, which information may be shared with
24other law enforcement officials. Nothing in this Section is
25intended to take away or limit any powers of the Attorney
26General under common law or other statutory law.



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1    (15 ILCS 205/6.4 new)
2    Sec. 6.4. Worker Protection Unit Task Force.
3    (a) There is created a Worker Protection Task Force within
4the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. The Task Force
5shall be coordinated by the Office of the Attorney General to
6promote a statewide outreach and enforcement effort to target
7businesses that violate the State's worker protection laws. The
8purpose of the Task Force shall be to:
9        (1) create a coalition in Illinois dedicated to
10    protecting the State's workforce and law-abiding
11    businesses;
12        (2) facilitate the timely sharing of information
13    between Task Force members relating to suspected worker
14    exploitation;
15        (3) promote the refinement of targeting methods and
16    best practices, and develop strategies to systemically
17    investigate worker exploitation; and
18        (4) work cooperatively with labor and community
19    organizations, businesses and business coalitions, and
20    other advocacy groups to increase public awareness on the
21    underground economy in an effort to promote fairness,
22    combat discrimination, and protect the welfare of the
23    State.
24    (b) The Task Force shall consist of:
25        (1) the Illinois Attorney General;



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1        (2) Assistant Attorneys General, assigned at the
2    discretion of the Illinois Attorney General;
3        (3) three elected State's Attorneys of Illinois, or
4    their designees, selected by the Attorney General;
5        (4) the Director of Labor or his or her designee;
6        (5) the Director of Employment Security or his or her
7    designee;
8        (6) the Director of Human Rights or his or her
9    designee; and
10        (7) the chairperson of the Illinois Workers'
11    Compensation Commission or his or her designee.
12    (c) The Task Force shall elect a chairperson from its
13membership and shall have the authority to determine its own
14meeting schedule, hearing schedule, and agendas. Members of the
15Task Force shall serve without compensation.
16    (d) The Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor
17and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than
18December 1, 2020.
19    (e) This Section is repealed December 1, 2021.