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Beware! Officers/Agents of Company Can Now Be Held Individually Liable to Pay Owed Wages Under the Illinois Equal Pay Act

December 2012

By: Anthony J. Caruso, Esq.

The Illinois Equal Pay Act is enforced by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). As such, the law requires employees who do the same or similar work to receive the same pay from their employer.

On August 6, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 2847 (P.A. 97-0903), which amends the law to include individual liability, effective on January 1, 2013. Prior to the change in the law, officers of a corporation or agents of a company could not be held individually liable to pay owed wages for violations of the law by the employer.

The Illinois Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying unequal wages to men and women.

The Basics Under the Illinois Equal Pay Act:

  • WHAT COMPANY? Employers with four or more employees
  • WHICH EMPLOYEES? Employees doing the same or substantially similar work requiring equal skill, effort/responsibility and under similar working conditions.
  • EXCEPTIONS: if the wage difference is based upon the following:
  • Seniority system
  • Merit system
  • System measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production
  • Use factors other than gender to determine the pay differential
  • PENALTIES: employer required to make up the wage difference to employee, potential legal costs, and civil fines up to $2,500 per violation.

If you have any questions or concerns about this topic or any other questions related to workers' compensation, please call attorney Anthony J. Caruso of Wessels Sherman's St. Charles, IL office at (630) 377-1554 or email ancaruso@wesselssherman.com.