State Senator Cristina Castro advanced a measure to strengthen Illinois’ anti-retaliation protections for employees who raise the alarm about issues like workplace safety.

“We have to make sure every employee in our state has protections when it comes to retaliation in the workplace,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “Whistleblowers step up to keep others safe, and they ought to be protected for doing so.”

Castro is leading a measure to strengthen the current law prohibiting employers from taking retaliatory action against employees who blow the whistle on unlawful practices, including public health or safety threats, in the workplace. The legislation enhances whistleblower protections by expanding definitions and protected activity, and giving the Illinois Attorney General the ability to act on behalf of workers whose employers have retaliated against them for disclosing a dangerous or unlawful practice.

For some immigrant workers, standing up for their rights could mean risking their livelihood and that of their family. To stand up for these employees, Castro’s measure also seeks to prevent employers from threatening immigration-related retaliation, including contacting U.S. immigration authorities, in response to a worker disclosing protected information.

House Bill 5561 passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday and goes to the full Senate for further consideration.