SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, is combatting worker mistreatment through the creation of a workplace watchdog unit in the Attorney General’s office to promote robust enforcement of laws ensuring fair pay, worker safety and fair hiring practices.
“Maintaining steady, safe jobs is crucial to building stronger communities across our state,” Jones said. “All Illinoisans deserve fair hiring for jobs with fair pay, and businesses that ignore that principle to pad their profits undermine our society. For the sake of Illinois workers and their families, we need to ensure that these amoral employers are held accountable.”
Jones is supporting Senate Bill 161, which creates a worker protection unit within the attorney general’s office. The unit would focus on investigating instances of unsafe working conditions, non-payment of wages, unfair hiring practices and discriminatory behavior across the state at all levels of business. Jones’ legislation also creates the Worker Protection Task Force which would refine investigative methods and spread awareness of businesses that exploit workers.
A key component of this bill addresses what is known as “wage theft”, or employers refusing to pay workers their full paycheck. This is especially problematic for low-wage employees. In 2017, a national study by the Economic Policy Institute found that Illinois employers underpaid minimum-wage workers by over $675 million a year.
“It’s time for worker mistreatment to end,” Jones said. “Employers are flagrantly and repeatedly breaking the law, and often targeting those who can afford it least. This is the first of many steps I plan to take to protect Illinois workers and ensure they get what they earn.”
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