Articles Posted in Illinois Department Human Rights

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Sexual Harassment and Christmas Parties

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So there is going to be a Christmas or holiday party at work. You remember what happened last year; too much alcohol and some groping. What rights do you have and what can you do if there is the same type of behavior again this year? In Illinois, sexual harassment is defined as an unwarranted attempt at sexual relations. This could include sexual comments, request for sex or sexual content in the form of Internet websites or pictures. Also, if the person doing the harassment is a manager or supervisor, there is strict liability on the company for sexual harassment. So what does this mean for you?

Don’t let the boss hit on your during the Christmas party. You have a right to be free from sexual harassment even at a party. Because the party is a company sanctioned event, it is an extension of work and liability still attaches. If you are the victim of this type of unwanted attention, you should contact an employment lawyer at once. My office files sexual harassment complaints at the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) often. Also, take note of any witnesses and if you receive any text messages, save them. Remember, drinking and a party is not an excuse to engage in sexual harassment.

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Sexual Harassment By The Boss

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So my office gets calls all the time from employees who are in sexual relationship with the boss. Is this sexual harassment in Illinois or under federal law? In order to be considered sexual harassment, the sexual contact must be unwanted. So is what seems like a consensual relationship sexual harassment? Well the answer is it could be. Just like any decision to have sex, if the employee says I don’t want to have a sexual relationship anymore, the relationship must stop without any negative job action.

Also, an employee may feel pressured to enter into a sexual relationship with the boss for fear of losing her job is she doesn’t. This too would be sexual harassment under the law. And if after ending the sexual relationship, the boss fires the employee, this would be retaliation and liability would attach to the company and the boss. In Illinois, an employee could file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) and they will cross-file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). Protect your employment interests and contact an employment lawyer if this is happening to you.

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Discrimination In Public Accommodation

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are visiting a public place and a worker at the business is discriminating against you. What if anything can you do? Well under the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”), you have legal protection from discrimination in a public business. So what is a public business? Just about any business that is open to the public. This includes grocery stores, doctors offices, clothing stores etc. The only places not included are private clubs. Also, what isn”t covered under the law is if a business professional doesn’t wish to do business with you for business reasons–they don’t have to. So if an attorney doesn’t want to take your case, that doesn’t make it discrimination under the law. This particular law under the Act is called discrimination in public accommodation.

If you feel you are the victim of discrimination based on public accommodation, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). The IDHR will complete an investigation into the complaint and issue a finding of either substantial evidence or lack thereof within 365 days. The most important thing to do is contact an employment lawyer who can discuss the case with you. These issues can be tricky and drafting the complaint correctly can make a big difference.

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Sexual Harassment From The Boss

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are working in Chicago and the boss is really taking an interest in you. At first you think it is because of your hard work and great ideas. However, as his interest seems directed more toward your personal life, you believe he has other motives. You do your best to keep the conversations professional, but it isn’t working. The boss is trying to take you out on a date and you are confused as to what you should do.

First, contact an employment lawyer and get some good legal advice. Under the law, you are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace. if a boss or supervisor is doing the harassment, there is strict liability on the company. In this instance, you could file a complain with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) against the company and your boss individually. Take action and don’t let this type of negative thing happen to you.

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Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in Illinois

by Peter M. LaSorsa

This week, Illinois lawmakers have the opportunity to pass the Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. The Bill acknowledges that domestic workers are “employees” under the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”). The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) is in charge of investigating claims under the Act. The Act is the state law prohibiting workplace sexual harassment. Currently, a domestic worker who is the victim of sexual harassment may not file a claim with the IDHR. This will change if the bill becomes law. Employment lawyers should be paying attention to this bill.

This is a very important step in Illinois, ensuring that all workers are covered under the Act. It is wrong to single out certain workers and not grant them the same protections that other workers enjoy. Of course, the burden would still be on the complainant to prove her case just like in any other IDHR case. I am glad the legislature is stepping up to the plate and addressing this issue. Hopefully, this will provide the protection these workers need and deserve.

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Request To Review Illinois Department of Human Rights Cases

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) in Chicago. The IDHR conducted an investigation and found lack of substantial evidence. What if anything can and should you do? Well upon getting the letter for the IDHR you can either file a lawsuit in the local circuit court or file a request to review with the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC“). If you file a lawsuit in the local circuit court, the case will proceed according to the local rules and the Illinois Supreme Court rules.

If you choose to file a request to review, a detailed account of the reason why will be filed with the IHRC. The IDHR will file their response and you will have a chance to file a sur-reply. It is important that you research the law to make sure you have solid legal argument in your review. A good employment lawyer can handle this for you. One would be better served going with a lawyer as he can write a better request for review and your chances or success should be better.

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Hostile Work Environments Based On Sexual Harassment

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So my Chicago office gets many calls from women who believe they are in a hostile work environment. And the conversation always turns to what created the hostile work environment? There is no general hostile environment under the law in Illinois. Therefore there needs to be some form in discrimination creating the environment. So if you were the victim of sexual harassment at work and that created the environment than you could file a complaint.

The complaint can be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). I always file with the IDHR because they will cross-file with the EEOC and the must conduct an investigation within one-year. The most important thing to do is speak with an employment attorney and learn your right.

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What Can I Do If My Co-Worker Make Fun Of My National Origin?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So your co-workers found out you are from Iraq and they keep pestering you at work about it. You ask them to stop but they won’t. The nasty comments directed at your national origin are making it uncomfortable and are creating a hostile work environment. What, if anything, can you do? Well, you have rights at work, and those rights include being free from any form of discrimination. You should report this conduct to top management or human resources. Also, if you have a policy against discrimination, follow the policy for reporting the conduct.

You should also contact an employment lawyer who concentrates in national origin cases. He can advise you on how best to proceed. If the need arises, he can also file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). The IDHR will conduct an investigation into the alleged conduct and allow you some relief. The most important thing to do is something. Don’t sit by and let this conduct continue.

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Sexual Orientation Cases At The Illinois Department Of Human Rights

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you have been the victim of discrimination based on your sexual orientation. Your boss doesn’t want to help and you feel like there is nowhere left to turn. What if anything can you do about it? Under the law in Illinois, you have a right to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). The IDHR will investigate the complaint within one-year. This will put pressure on the company to settle the case in most instances.

Sometimes it is hard to get evidence to support your sexual orientation claim. Some common types of evidence are text messages, emails and any witnesses who wish to come forward. Be aware, that even though people witness what is taking place, sometimes they are reluctant to come forward. At the end of the day, the burden is on you to prove your discrimination case. The best way to accomplish that is to contact an experienced employment lawyer.

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What Can I Do If I Am Being Treated Different Because Of My Age?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are at work in Chicago and the boss just won’t stop picking on you. He treats you so much different than the younger employees. You ask him about it and he makes comments about you being old. What, if anything, can you do about it? Well, it is against the law in Illinois to treat you different because of you age. It is called age discrimination and you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). The IDHR is a state agency that is tasked with investigating discrimination in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

The discrimination will create a hostile work environment for you and may cost you money in the form of promotion. Under the law a worker cannot be treated different because of his age. The age cut-off is over 40 years of age. That means if you are 40 or over, you can’t be treated different than younger workers. Many employers just don’t get that message and sometimes it requires intervention by the IDHR.