Employment Discrimination Claims in Illinois

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 What Is Employment Law?

The vast category of legal concerns that relate to employees, employers, and workplace safety are together referred to as employment law. Some employment laws, for instance, might be relevant in a case involving employment discrimination, while others might help guide the creation of corporate rules or employee handbooks.

All persons who work for an employer are primarily protected by employment law. This might comprise:

  • Establishing protection for workers in workplace conflicts with coworkers, employers, or businesses;
  • Ensuring that employers don’t use discrimination when recruiting, employing, promoting, or firing potential hires or present workers;
  • Granting self-employed people or those regarded as independent contractors particular privileges;
  • Ensuring that volunteers and interns are protected from sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, and workplace reprisals; and
  • Other issues that may influence employment rights.

It should be remembered that different jurisdictions may have very different employment rules. Therefore, it’s possible that under the laws of another state, the rights that one state may safeguard may not be protected at all. Aside from that, consider that certain matters can be covered by state and federal employment regulations (e.g., pregnancy leave).

What Are a Few Different Employment Types?

There are several ways to classify employees per the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”), two federal laws. These federal statutes distinguish independent contractors and employees as the two basic types of employment. The groups within those categories will subsequently be subdivided into other employment types.

The following are some examples of the various forms of employment that a worker’s job may be classed as:

  • Either a full- or part-time job;
  • Seasonal or transitory work;
  • Self-employed individuals;
  • Freelancers;
  • Consultants, as well as
  • Temporary employees (note that this type of employment differs from a worker who is considered a temporary employee).

The employer and the employee must understand the employment category under which they fit. This is so that a worker’s type of employment, which in turn determines their rights as employees, the benefits they can receive, such as pensions and benefits, and if they are eligible for particular privileges. It will also impact the duties the employer will be required to perform by law (e.g., withholding income taxes).

What Sets an Independent Contractor Apart from an Employee?

As already established, state and federal employment statutes may apply to some employment law matters. Determining the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor seems to be one of those challenges. These regulations will also specify the various legal criteria companies must adhere to for each category of employees.

Generally speaking, an individual’s influence over their work should be the primary consideration when determining whether they are employees or independent contractors. For instance, a worker is more likely to be classified as an independent contractor than an employee if they control their work and the techniques they apply to complete it.

On the other hand, a worker will likely be seen as an employee rather than an independent contractor if an employer has complete control over their duties and the method they use to do them.

As a result, a business must adhere to specific federal laws regarding workers, such as withholding income taxes from employee paychecks. Additionally, they must ensure that the employee is paid at a rate that, at the very least, conforms with minimum wage requirements and wage and hour legislation.

An independent contractor, however, will not require an employer to offer employee benefits or deduct income taxes from their paychecks. The independent contractor will be in charge of managing these issues on their own. Additionally, while employers are subject to liability for the conduct of their workers, independent contractors are typically exempt from such liability.

What Laws Apply to Me as an Employee?

Employees are granted several legal rights, including the right to privacy, the prohibition against discrimination and harassment at work, and the right to fair pay. In general, a right will most likely be applicable and able to be used to protect an employee if it is listed under employment legislation.

Many of the rights guaranteed by employment legislation are concerned with the health and safety of employees’ working circumstances. As an illustration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is in charge of upholding the laws and regulations that safeguard workers from hazardous situations and harmful work surroundings.

Consider an employer that neglects to maintain machinery or a structure, leading to a problem that exposes their staff to hazardous substances. Employees who believe the chemicals have negatively impacted their health may file a complaint with OSHA. Then OSHA will look into the validity of the complaint and decide whether to penalize the employer.

The Family and Medical Leave Act may also give employees the right to leave. The Employer shall be a Covered Employer for purposes of this Act.

Employees may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits if they get hurt at work. If an employee belongs to a labor union, they may be eligible for additional benefits or may be able to pursue alternative resolutions for problems.

Other legal rights that result from an employment contract may be available to employees. As a result, this agreement may also confer extra legal rights on an individual employee.

What Are Allegations of Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination allegations entail the maltreatment of a person because they fall under one of several “protected categories,” including race, nationality, sex, political affiliation, age, and others. Additionally, when the treatment is based on these categories, it is generally prohibited to treat one group preferentially at the expense of another.

How Do I Make an Illinois Employment Discrimination Claim?

Employment discrimination allegations are expressly processed through the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) (IDHR). You would have 180 days from the alleged discrimination to bring your lawsuit. You must provide your basic contact information and some background details outlining the specifics of your claim.

The IDHR will launch an investigation into your allegation after receiving it. This may involve several processes, such as gathering information, possible mediation, and the conclusion or conclusions. An employment discrimination claim is filed in Illinois by “filing a charge.”

The IDHR may then determine whether your claim is supported by “substantial evidence” that is sufficient. If such is the case, they will forward your case to an administrative law judge so they can continue to hear it.

What Will Happen If the IDHR Can’t Fix My Complaint?

The IDHR is sometimes amenable to an appeal or review of a prior charge. After a discharge, this phase, known as “Legal Review,” must be expressly sought. Typically, the filing party has 30 days to request a legal review.

If the IDHR cannot settle the conflict for whatever reason, it can be required in some cases to initiate private civil litigation.

Even though some of the findings from the IDHR will probably be used in the case, this could need more research and evaluation of employment legislation. Examples of possible remedies include a damages award or other remedies, like being reinstated to a prior post after being fired.

Do I Require an Employment Attorney?

There are extremely strict filing procedures in Illinois for charges of job discrimination. If you need assistance with any discrimination-related issues, you might need to engage an Illinois discrimination lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can guide you through the process and act as your advocate to help you win the appropriate legal action.


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