Articles Posted in Public Accomodation

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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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Can I File A Sexual Harassment Complaint If The Service Technician Asks Me For Sex?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So I took my car into the automotive shop to get some work done on it. The service manager took an immediate liking to me and asked me out. I refused and told him to just fix the car. Now the service manager is making sexual comments and asks me for sex. What rights do I have? Well, in Illinois you can file a complaint of sexual harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) based on this conduct. Under the law, you have a right to be free from any type of discriminatory conduct while in a business. If this is violated it is called sexual harassment in public accommodation.

My office files cases based on this type of activity. Most attorneys only concentrate on employment law discrimination. However, this type of behavior occurs more often than most people realize. It is very important that you document what is taking place and get as much evidence as possible. The best evidence is something in writing, like a text message or email. Remember, in Illinois it is illegal to record someone without their permission. Protect yourself and take action as soon as possible.

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I Went To Buy A Car And The Salesman Hit On Me; Is That Sexual Harassment?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are in the Chicago area and out shopping for a new car. The salesman at the car dealership is taking a more personal interest in you and it is making you uncomfortable. You haven’t decided on a purchase and the car salesman calls you at home and is asking you out on a date. Is this sexual harassment in Illinois? The answer is, it could be. In Illinois you are protected from unwanted sexual advances not just in the workplace but also in public. The Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act“) allows for the filing of a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) if you are sexually harassed at a business.

Many people think only workers are protected from sexual harassment. Not so. The most difficult thing to proving sexual harassment in a public accommodation is getting the right evidence. It is very hard to prove what is being said on a private telephone call. However, many times the harasser may send a text message or may say something in front of another person. This is all the prove you need. If you believe you are the victim of this type of behavior, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to discuss the details. Don’t let the harasser get away with ruining your day.

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What Is Sexual Harassment In A Public Place?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are at a business and the worker there engages in conduct that you find offensive. If the employee makes sexual comments or propositions to you, that would be sexual harassment under the law in Illinois. It falls under the public accommodation section of the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”). Many people think that the Act only covers sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace for other employees. However the Act is much more expansive. So what should you do if you are the victim of such conduct? Well the first thing is to try and make sure you can prove what is taking place. When you have a he said, she said type case, that is the weakest. You should attempt to get the names of any witnesses that may be nearby and who may have overheard what was said.

If the employee emails or texts you, save those electronic communications. Also, contact a lawyer who concentrates on discrimination cases and has handled public accommodation type cases in the past. There really isn’t an alternative to experience. The other thing you want to do is make notes of how this is affecting you. Did you end up not shopping at the store anymore and now have to drive miles away to a different store? Do you feel the price of a repair was increased because you rejected the persons advances? These are all valid forms of damage that your attorney can help quantify. The most important thing to do as act fast as there are very strict time limits in cases like this.

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Sexual Harassment In A Place Of Public Accommodation

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So everyone knows that if you are sexually harassed at work, you can file a claim of discrimination. However, what most people don’t realize is that if you are the victim of sexual harassment in any public place of business, you may have a claim against the person and the owner of the business. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in a public business you can file a claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”). The IDHR not only investigates claims based on employment and public accommodation but also claims involving discrimination in housing. I am always amazed at how many attorneys are not even fully aware of the breath of what the IDHR can investigate. Because the IDHR can investigate these claims anyone who has experienced sexual harassment by say the auto mechanic or grocery store worker is leaving money on the table by not filing a complaint. The process is very similar to filing based on employment and the same damages are available except for lost wages.

So how can you prove your case of sexual harassment in a public accommodation? There are many ways to prove your case. First, there may be witnesses who saw what happened and are willing to come forward. In order for this to happen, you would have to get their names and phone numbers. Don’t be afraid to ask for this information if you notice people around when you are being harassed. Also, if you notice employees around you can make a mental note of their names and they may be able to provide supporting evidence. Another way to get proof is if the harasser sends you text messages. Now I know you are thinking how is the person going to get my cell phone number? Well many times in a service industries the person would need your contact information to call you when the car is ready or when you are to come back in and pick up what you dropped off. So it really isn’t that unusual for a worker to have your cell phone number. You would be surprised to learn how many service workers and managers will sexually harass a customer. Another form of proof would be emails, however you are less likely to have a harassing type of email.

Any good employment lawyer who handles discrimination cases would be able to explain all of the details of a public accommodation case to you. Illinois is one of the few states that offers this type of protection to its’ citizens. Make sure you take advantage of this law. Also, in most instances the attorney will take this type of case on contingency basis. This means the attorney will not charge you by the hour or make you put money down in order to take the case. The attorney will get paid once the case is settled or once you receive a judgement. When an attorney takes a case this way you can be assured he believes in your case, otherwise he would not take it. This may not seem like a big deal but it really is. The last thing you want to do is pay money for an attorney on a case that isn’t really worth the money you paid for the attorney. By hiring an attorney on contingency fee basis, you can be sure the case has some value. This not only will give you peace of mind but it will make you feel confident that what happened to you was wrong and against the law.

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by Peter M. LaSorsa

Rawland Leon Sorensen, the owner and manager of more than 50 residential rental properties in Bakersfield is being sued for sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act. In Illinois a landlord could also be sued for sexual harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act and specifically under the public accomodation provision. The claim would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“).

According to published reports the victim alleges Sorensen sexually harassed female tenants by making unwelcome sexual comments. Some of the details include Sorensen exposing his genitals to female tenants. Sorensen would allegedly take adverse actions against women who refused his sexual advances. So another words he would engage in retaliation if a women did not obey him.

“No person should have to fear sexual harassment from a landlord who holds a key to their home.” said attorney Thomas E. Perez