Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees in Illinois based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, or an undesirable military discharge.
An Illinois employer is not permitted to consider any of those classifications in making employment decisions.
Employers must provide people with impairments with reasonable accommodations. Therefore, your employer cannot reject your application or dismiss you if you have a disability and could perform the position’s duties with certain reasonable workplace modifications.
Note that nothing in Illinois law obligates businesses to give unqualified candidates a chance.
An employer might decline to hire you, for instance, if your impairment prevents you from performing the position’s duties. Or, if a company solely hires guys, they are not breaching the law if they are looking for people to model men’s clothing. In this situation, women are ineligible for the position due to their gender.
Just to be clear, discrimination happens when a current or potential employee is treated less favorably than other current or potential employees due to their membership in one or more protected classes. Discrimination can happen anytime, from when someone is looking for work to when they are recruited.
An illustration of this would be how it would be unlawful to deny employment to an otherwise qualified applicant based on their religious convictions. An employer failing to make a disabled employee a reasonable workplace accommodation might lead to a discrimination claim.
Cases of employment discrimination frequently just involve one particular personality trait. For example, a person might be discriminated against based on age or country of origin. However, when an employer treats a person unfairly because of numerous protected classes, it is referred to as multiple-factor employment discrimination.
This would imply that the person is subject to discrimination at work due to both their age and their nation of origin. Such prejudice may occur in a variety of settings and may involve a wide range of persons, both individually and collectively.
What Are Some Typical Cases Of Discrimination At Work?
Simply put, companies cannot discriminate while enforcing workplace policies or privileges. Additionally, they are prohibited from discriminating when awarding pay, incentives, or vacation time.
Other frequent instances of workplace discrimination include:
- Selecting an employee for a position or forcing them to retire solely based on their membership in a protected class;
- Denying employment to a candidate because of their protected class;
- Putting words in job postings and recruitment materials that will scare off members of protected classes, like requiring applicants to be able to lift a specific amount of weight when it is unrelated to work;
- Giving rewards to one group while refusing to do the same for another, even though both groups perform the same kind of work;
- Withholding pay or wages;
- Reducing health and medical benefits for people who belong to a protected class;
- Making someone work under difficult or unreasonable conditions;
- Requesting that an employee sign a release giving up their right to sue in exchange for severance pay; and
- Disputes relating to the number of hours worked, such as denying employees overtime or vacation pay when they are otherwise entitled.
Additionally, it is against the law for employers to engage in harassment or other behaviors that foster a hostile work environment. It is significant to highlight that this covers both employer and employee behavior.
Retaliation by employers is not permitted in the following situations:
- Reporting harassment or discrimination
- Filing a lawsuit
- Joining a union
- Taking part in an inquiry into workplace discrimination
Employers cannot express a preference or exclude certain candidates from job adverts based on protected classes. Additionally, they are prohibited from granting promotions to only those who meet specified criteria, as opposed to any employee who merits them based on their performance.
As an illustration, consider how it is unlawful to pay one group of employees more than another just because of their race. This is particularly valid if both groups are engaged in the same activities or kinds of employment.
Laws against employment discrimination are also being expanded to cover new groups and classifications. Particularly, anti-discrimination laws and regulations are increasingly considering sexual orientation and gender identity.
How Do I Establish Discrimination at Work?
You will probably need to be a protected class member to prove workplace discrimination effectively. In general, you must show a court that you were knowingly treated unfairly by either your employer or a potential employer merely because of your membership in a protected class.
If the employer has consistently treated members of the same protected class unfairly, that may strengthen the case for such intent. You must demonstrate that the employer chose to treat you differently from other employees on purpose and that this choice was exclusively motivated by your membership in a protected class.
On the other hand, your employer will probably try to show that their actions were driven by something completely else, unrelated to your protected status. Pretext is the attempt to show that an acceptable reason drove one’s acts. Pretexts include claims that an employee lacked the necessary skills for the position or that the company’s needs had changed and the individual was no longer a good match.
Another illustration would be that there were more qualified and superior candidates. A successful job discrimination lawsuit requires evidence of the employer’s true intentions.
You will need to provide written proof of the discrimination, such as emails, corporate policies or handbooks, job offers, and employment contracts, among other things, to support your claim.
This includes verbal communications, like comments given during an interview; Documents, including pay stubs or HR records.
How Do I Make a Claim for Discrimination at Work?
The human resources division of your organization should be contacted as a first step. You must exhaust all administrative options before pursuing any discrimination claim. You must speak with your employer and attempt to address the matter through their channels before doing anything further.
Before you may launch a lawsuit for employment discrimination, you must first submit a complaint with a government agency if using all of your administrative options does not end the problem. This is typically done by submitting a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“), which will look into the discrimination claim to determine the best course of action.
The EEOC will send you a letter stating your right to sue if the remedy is not adequate or satisfactory. Thanks to this letter, you can hire a lawyer and bring a civil complaint against your company.
Do I Need An Attorney For Discrimination At Work?
A knowledgeable and nearby Illinois discrimination attorney should be consulted if you are a protected class member and face discrimination at work. To ensure you receive the most pertinent legal counsel, you should consult with a local attorney because state laws concerning workplace discrimination can vary.
A knowledgeable lawyer with expertise in discrimination can advise you on your best course of action and help you gather proof to support your claim.
An attorney can update you regarding changes to the law that might affect your case or claim. Finally, a lawyer will be able to defend your legal rights while representing you in court if needed.