On May 20, 2020, Chicago passed the “COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance,” making it illegal for employers with employees in the City of Chicago to retaliate against employees who stay home: to follow public health orders related to COVID-19, to quarantine because of COVID-19 symptoms, or to care for an individual ill with COVID-19. Enacted as an amendment to Chicago’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, the Anti-Retaliation Ordinance prohibits employers from terminating, demoting, or taking other adverse action against employees who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19.
What do I need to know?
Under the Ordinance, an employer cannot terminate, demote, or take any other adverse action against an employee for obeying an order issued by Mayor Lightfoot, Governor Pritzker, or the Chicago Department of Public Health (or, in the case of subsections (2) through (4) below, a treating healthcare provider) requiring the employee to:
- Stay at home to minimize the transmission of COVID-19;
- Remain at home while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or while being sick with COVID-19;
- Obey a quarantine order issued to the employee (to keep an employee who has come into contact with an infected person separate from others);
- Obey an isolation order issued to the employee (to separate an employee with COVID-19 from others); or
- Obey an order issued by the Commissioner of Health regarding the duties of hospitals and other congregate facilities.
In addition, an employer cannot take adverse action against an employee for caring for an individual subject to subsections (1) through (3) above.
The Ordinance became effective on May 20, 2020, and will expire (unless City Council intervenes) when the Commissioner of Public Health makes a written determination “that the threat to public health posed by COVID-19 has diminished to the point that [the] ordinance can safely be repealed.”