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Proposal addresses workplace discrimination in Illinois

There are many ways a person in Illinois could be discriminated against in the workplace. They could face discrimination based on their race, gender, religion, age or disability, among other protected categories. They could be passed up for a promotion, be paid less than those in a similar position, be harassed to the point that it creates a hostile working environment, be unduly penalized or could even be wrongfully terminated. It is an issue that lawmakers both on a federal and state level have taken steps to address.

An Illinois State Representative has proposed a measure that would make it illegal for any business in Illinois to discriminate against workers, even if the employer only has one worker. Under current law, except in Chicago, employers with less than 15 workers are not bound to the law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. While opponents of the bill claim it is too burdensome on small businesses, the representative maintains that these businesses have other legal protections from frivolous claims of discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, but it still happens. So long as legal loopholes exist, there will be employers who try to get away with discriminating against employees or allow harassment to take place. Fortunately, workers in such situations may have options to address these issues. Workplaces may have internal procedures that workers must follow if they claim they have been harassed or discriminated against. But, if those processes fail, litigation may be another way workers who have been harassed or discriminated against can hold their employer accountable.

All workers in Illinois deserve to feel welcome and safe in their workplace. Such security is violated when a worker is harassed or discriminated against. It doesn't matter if an employer has one worker or 100 workers -- all workers deserve to be free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and sometimes taking legal action is the only way to ensure this is the case.

Source: wlsam.com, "Guzzardi proposes to toughen law against discrimination in business," Bill Cameron, April 4, 2018

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