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Bills address employee misconduct by state officials

Some people in Illinois who are in a position of power may believe that they are beyond reproach. This could lead them to commit acts that harm other people. When this happens in the workplace, this harm often takes place in the form of harassment or discrimination. This can be true not only in the private sector, but also the public sector. For example, two measures have been proposed at the Illinois statehouse that address harassment and discrimination by politicians and other government employees.

Under one proposal, local governments would have to publish on information their website and area newspapers regarding the severance agreements of workers who committed some sort of act of misconduct. These publications must last one week or more and must include the name of the worker at issue, how much they were given in their severance agreement and an overview of what misconduct the worker allegedly committed.

The aim of this measure is to discourage giving payouts to those who commit misconduct in the workplace. However, some politicians are concerned that this measure might make victims of misconduct afraid to report the issue, and some may view the measure as an unnecessary expense as some cities already make such records public.

A second proposal would make it so that taxpayer dollars could not be used to fund settlements given to those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace by state politicians. Instead, such settlements would have to come out of the politician's own office. This would make it so that politicians who commit harassment are held personally responsible for their acts.

It remains to be seen whether either of these proposals will become law. While the measures in these bills would only affect those working in the public sector, it serves as an interesting example of how to hold those who commit harassment or discrimination in the workplace accountable for their actions. Those who believe they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination in the workplace can seek the advice of an employment law professional, to learn more about their rights.

Source: NPRIllinois.org, "Could Naming Names Discourage Harassment By Illinois Officials?" Mary Cullen, Jan. 29, 2018

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