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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Logo


May 24, 2024

Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul applauded the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of legislation that would protect workers from retaliatory conduct by employers, strengthen current protections under state law and codify the authority of Raoul’s Workplace Rights Bureau to investigate and hold employers who retaliate or threaten to retaliate accountable.

“Workers who want to assert their basic workplace rights risk losing their livelihood and ability to provide for themselves and their families. For some immigrant workers, asserting their rights means risking their ability to remain in the United States,” Raoul said. “We must enact policies that encourage workers to step up and report dangerous or unlawful practices. I thank the sponsors and the members of the General Assembly for passing these needed reforms.”

Raoul’s legislation – contained in House Bill (HB) 5561 – would fill existing voids in labor enforcement that leave workers unprotected from often-devastating employer retaliation when they seek to enforce their rights or blow the whistle on unlawful employer practices.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Broaden the scope of conduct protected under the Illinois Whistleblower Act to protect employees who report violations of the law or threats to public health and safety directly to their employer.
  • Expand the definition of retaliation to include blacklisting an employee from future opportunities and immigration-based retaliation.
  • Provide express statutory authority to the Attorney General’s office to bring suit against employers who retaliate or threaten retaliation against employees.

HB 5561 passed in the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support Thursday night. State Sen. Cristina Castro sponsored the legislation, which now goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

“Workers across our state deserve safety and protection on the job,” said Castro. “When an employee raises the alarm about something like a workplace hazard, we need to make sure laws are in place to safeguard them from retaliation. No one should be punished for speaking up to make working conditions safer for everyone.”

Attorney General Raoul’s Workplace Rights Bureau protects and advances the employment rights of all Illinois residents, particularly the state’s most vulnerable residents and immigrant populations. The bureau investigates and litigates cases involving serious or persistent wage law violations or other significant employment practices, and monitors and proposes legislation concerning labor and employment issues.

Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who wish to file a complaint about an employer’s practices to call the Workplace Rights Hotline at 1-844-740-5076 or visit the Attorney General’s website.