Discrimination at work can be subtle but pervasive. It can also be shockingly bold. If you’ve been subject to bias that has affected your career or work environment, then you may have the right to hold your employer responsible for the actions taken against you.
Our Illinois discrimination lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can answer your questions regarding employment discrimination. We have years of experience representing individuals who have experienced discrimination and sexual harassment at work. Call us today at 618-277-3644 to learn how you can protect your rights and recover compensation.
Illinois Discrimination Laws
The Illinois Human Rights Act sets forth the State’s policy against discrimination based on a multitude of factors. The Act states that it is a civil rights violation for an employer to refuse to hire, promote, renew employment, train, offer an apprenticeship, give tenure, award other privileges, or to segregate based on unlawful discrimination or citizenship status.
Unlawful employment discrimination includes bias based on:
- Marital status
- Military status
- National origin
- Order of protection status
- Physical or mental disability
- Sexual orientation
- Unfavorable discharge from military service in connection with employment
Who is an Employer Under Illinois Law?
Under the Act, an employer is someone who has 15 or more employees. However, in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination based on mental or physical disability or pregnancy, only one worker is required. Other employers may be prevented from discrimination under other state and federal laws or internal company policy.
Recovering Under Illinois Law
The protection provided by the Illinois Human Rights Act is slightly broader than federal laws. Federal anti-discrimination statutes do not include some of the above-listed characteristics. The Illinois Human Rights Act also encompasses more employers than federal law.
Since 2008, employees have had the right to sue their employers based on these discriminatory factors. Prior to that time, employees only had an administrative option to complain about the discrimination, have it investigated, and possibly remedied by the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Now, Illinois workers can choose to go the administrative route or file a complaint in state or federal court.
Discrimination may result in the entitlement of recovery for any or all of the following:
- Actual damages
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Court costs
- Reinstatement of employment
Federal Discrimination Laws
There are numerous key federal statutes that protect against various types of discrimination, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- The Equal Pay Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Rehabilitation Act
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Discrimination can come in many forms. Overall, these laws protect against discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, disability, age, and genetic information.
In line with these prohibitions, federal laws protect against discrimination in:
- Job classification
- Job transfers
- Provisions of fringe benefits
- Retirement plans
Who is an Employer Under Federal Law?
Almost all employers are subject to equal pay protection laws, but various acts have their own definition of what constitutes an employer. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes state and local government employers, private employers, and educational institutions that employ at least 15 workers. Other laws exclude public entities. Contact our Illinois employment lawyers to help you determine which federal laws might apply to your situation.
Recovering Under Federal Law
If you believe you have been discriminated against under federal law, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigates the claim and will work with the employer to resolve the case. However, if the matter is not resolved or the EEOC finds no evidence of discrimination, you will be notified and given 90 days to file a lawsuit in federal court.
The time in which you can bring a suit under a federal law depends on which statute is the basis of the lawsuit. It is crucial that you speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney to determine which statutes apply to your claims, provide you guidance during the administrative process, and take your case to court at the appropriate time.
Remedies provided under federal law include:
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Court costs
- Expert witness fees
- Front pay
- Other actions to make the person whole
- Punitive damages
- Reasonable accommodation
Our Belleville Discrimination Lawyers From The Cates Law Firm, LLC Can Help When Facing Employment Law Issues
If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination at work, contact our Illinois discrimination lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC right away. They can help you determine which state and federal laws are relevant to your situation.
The Cates Law Firm, LLC has been extremely successful in litigating employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases. The firm successfully obtained a $95 million jury award in a sexual harassment case against a private employer – one of the largest jury awards for a sexual harassment case in U.S. history.
Call The Cates Law Firm, LLC at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to let us know how we can help you. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent clients across Southern Illinois and the Metro East region, from St. Louis to the Indiana border, including the communities of Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.