New Laws in 2017

A lot of new laws go in to effect in Illinois in 2017.  Here is a summary of some of those laws which might be of interest to our clients.

Protecting workers’ online privacy  A 2013 law made Illinois the second state to prohibit employers or prospective employers from requiring employees or applicants to disclose usernames and passwords for social media accounts. A new law broadens that protection to any “personal online account” and prohibits employers from disciplining employees or declining to hire applicants for refusing to provide that information.

Allowing emergency personnel to inject epinephrine  All trained emergency medical technicians in Illinois will now be able to treat severe allergic reactions with epinephrine injected through a syringe rather than with costlier autoinjectors, better known as EpiPens.

Tracking down life insurance beneficiaries  Life insurances companies are now required to check Social Security records to identify policyholders who have died but whose benefits have gone unclaimed by their survivors.

Extending the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits  Known collectively as “Molly’s Law,” a pair of measures extends to five years from two years the statute of limitations for bringing wrongful death lawsuits when someone is the victim of “violent intentional conduct” and strengthens penalties for public bodies that violate the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Requiring lawyers for minors in homicide investigations  Law enforcement officials are now barred from interrogating children younger than 15 without an attorney present when investigating homicides and certain sex crimes. The law previously applied to children younger than 13. The new law also simplifies the notice of rights that officers must read to all minors and expands the requirement for videotaping interrogations of minors.

Training cosmetologists to spot abuse  Licensed cosmetologists will now receive training to spot domestic and sexual abuse as part of their continuing education requirements. While cosmetologisst won’t be required to report abuse, supporters say they’re in a good position to identify it and offer help to victims.

Prohibiting low-wage noncompete agreements  Passed in response to Jimmy John’s having restaurant employees sign agreements barring them from taking jobs at other sandwich chains, the new law prohibits such agreements for workers who earn $13 an hour or less.

Creating flexibility for sick days  Illinois employers now will be required to let employees use up to half of their paid sick days to care for family members, including children, spouses, siblings, parents, parents-in-law, grandchildren, grandparents or stepparents.

Protecting against high lead levels  In the wake of the crisis over lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, Illinois passed a law requiring property owners to address high lead levels before selling a building or renewing a lease. The law applies to residential buildings and child care facilities regulated by the state’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Act.

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