On July 1st of this year the Hotel and Casino Safety Act took effect in Illinois. The new legislation requires all Illinois casinos and hotels to provide a notification or safety device to staff in customer-facing roles, that will allow them to immediately call for help in case of sexual assault, harassment, or other violence. This requirement applies to both part-time and full-time staff.
The new law also requires hotels and casinos to implement an anti-harassment policy and to post it in a conspicuous area in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by a majority of staff. To comply with the law, the policy must:
o Encourage employees to immediately report any harassment by guests or clients;
o Allow employees to leave the vicinity until help arrives if they believe a guest is threatening them;
o Receive a temporary work assignment until the offending guest leaves; and
o Receive PTO to file a police report, criminal complaint, or testify in court;
Where employers violate the act, and do not rectify the violation within 15 days of notice, employees may bring a private cause of action against the employer. While damages are capped at $350 per violation, each day an employer is not in compliance counts as a separate violation. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for reasonable use of their safety devices, or for relying on the anti-harassment policies.
If you have questions about the Hotel and Casino Safety Act, contact us, for a free, 30-minute consultation with an employment lawyer.