Those fighting for worker’s rights in Illinois suffered a setback Tuesday as Governor Rauner vetoed a bill that would protect small business workers from discrimination.
Rauner said the proposed rule change would hurt business owners and stump economic growth.
The new plan would have allowed workers to take action if they felt discriminated against on the basis of gender, religion, race, or age.
Right now, that privilege is given only to workers at larger companies, as a 15-employee threshold is the federal standard.
Governor Rauner says that law is in place to protect business owners who can’t afford to pay legal fees.
Eighteen other states have changed their rules regarding workers in smaller businesses.
“This is simply bringing Illinois in-step with many other states that really value their workers and think people should be accountable for illegal discrimination. It’s not a radical idea, and I’m really disappointed the governor rejected it,” said Anna Koeppel, of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Midwest Region.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce opposed the legislation.
In his veto message, Governor Rauner said he believes workers already have the power to legally fight back.