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Posted On: January 19, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Illinois Human Rights Act Amendment That Bans Sexual-Orientation and Gender-Identity Discrimination: Three Years Later

The Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") act that bans sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination went into effect three years ago and here is an update on the act. According to the Director of IDHR Rocco Claps, a snapshot of fiscal year ‘09 ( from July ‘08 to today ) , shows there have been 89 sexual-orientation charges and, of those, 11 are related to gender identity, 2 based on bisexual, 67 on homosexualality, 2 on heterosexuality and 3 based on perceived orientation.

In Illinois, the IDHR investigates charges of sexual harassment, as well as sexual-orientation. Known as Public Act 093-1078 the new act makes it is unlawful in Illinois to discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, gender, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and religion. The other basis of discrimination besides employment include real-estate transactions; public accommodations; sexual harassment in higher education; and financial credit.

According to the director the average complaint is completed within 320 days. By law the IDHR is required to process a claim in 365 days. Additionally, about 33 percent of IDHR charges are settled within the agency. The director believes that the most vulnerable employees in a workplace setting are the ones who are victimized first, fired first or treated differently when the economy gets bad, according to an interview in the Windy City Times.

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