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05 21 Dunkin-Supported Legislation to Ensure Women are Paid Equally to Men Headed to Governor
SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) announced on Monday that legislation he is supporting to hold employers and their agents accountable for paying up when a court rules they have violated the Equal Pay Act has passed both chambers of the General Assembly and is headed to the governor for his review.

“I am proud to have helped put Illinois’ Equal Pay Act on the books to make sure our moms, aunts, grandmas and sisters are paid the same wages as a man would be, but I am dismayed that some companies will intentionally hide money so they can evade court orders,” Dunkin said. “They will think twice after this bill is signed into law.”

Illinois’ Equal Pay Act prohibits, with certain exceptions, discrimination between the sexes where an employee is paid at a rate below that paid to another employee of the opposite sex for performing the same, or substantially similar, work. An employee who has been underpaid in this manner may recover the underpayment, interest, litigation costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees. The employer may also be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 for each violation of the Act.

Under Senate Bill 2847, co-sponsored by Dunkin, any officer of a corporation or agent of an employer who willfully and knowingly permits the corporation or employer to evade payment of such an award is deemed an employer, and thus incurs the liability of the employer under the Act. This will help ensure the right people are held personally liable in situations where assets are hidden or a company is intentionally made insolvent to avoid paying an equal pay award.

“What we are talking about here is two crimes, two moral failings,” Dunkin said. “First off, they underpaid someone based on their gender, and secondly, they intentionally evaded a court order. This type of behavior needs to be strongly punished, and hopefully will be deterred by this legislation.”

For more information, please contact Dunkin’s constituent service office at (312) 266-0340.