Effective on July 1, 2020, the amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act extends all anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections to all applicants and employees employed in the State of Illinois. The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), 775 ILCS 5/2-101(B)(1)(a) now applies to all employers employing one or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The IHRA protects employees in Illinois from employment discrimination and harassment based on his or her actual or perceived:
- National Origin;
- Age (at least 40 years and older);
- Sexual Orientation;
- Marital Status;
- Order of Protection Status;
- Military Status;
This amendment greatly expands the coverage of the IHRA to include all employers employing at least one employee in the State of Illinois. Before this amendment, certain anti-discrimination provisions of the IHRA only applied to larger employers employing at least 15 or more employees in Illinois. As a result, employees in Illinois were not protected from certain types of employment discrimination and harassment under the IHRA if the employer employed less than 15 employees in the State of Illinois. As of July 1, 2020, the Illinois legislature officially closed this loophole.
The IHRA, 775 ILCS 5/6-101 always protected employees employed in the State of Illinois from retaliation regardless of the number of employees employed in Illinois by the employer. The IHRA always protected Illinois employees from sexual harassment, disability discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination regardless of the number of employees employed in Illinois. Effective July 1, 2020, the IHRA now protects all employees in Illinois from all forms of employment discrimination and workplace harassment made unlawful by the statute.
The IHRA Provides Greater Anti-Employment Discrimination Protection To Illinois Employees Than Most Major Federal Anti-Employment Statutes.
Major federal anti-discrimination legislation like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADEA, and the ADA only apply to larger employers employing a certain number of employees as required by the particular statute. Federal anti-discrimination laws do not apply to those employers who do not employ the statutorily required number employees. This leaves employees unprotected from gender discrimination or age discrimination under major federal anti-discrimination statutes if the employer does not employ the statutorily required number of employees for coverage.
This amendment to the IHRA provides coverage to Illinois employees suffering from gender discrimination and/or age discrimination by closing the loophole created by major federal anti-discrimination laws requiring an employer to employ a certain number of employees in order for the federal law to apply. On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton Cty., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 3252 (2020), that discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not apply to employers employing less than 15 employees. This means that Title VII’s “based on sex” interpreted to include sexual orientation discrimination do not apply to employers employing less than 15 employees. The amendment to the IHRA effective July 1, 2020, closes this loophole created by Title VII by making sexual orientation anti-discriminations protections under the IHRA applicable to Illinois employers.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing Charges of Discrimination With The Illinois Department of Human Rights.
The IHRA, 775 ILCS 5/7A-102(A)(1) generally requires an employee or applicant to timely file a Charge of Discrimination in writing and under oath against his/her employer within 300 days after the date that a civil rights violation has been committed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Failure to timely file a Charge of Discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights can bar the applicant or employer from recovering for any claims of employment discrimination under the IHRA. Information about the Charge of Discrimination filing process with the Illinois Department of Human Rights can be found here.https:www2.illinois.gov/dhr/filingachage/Pages/Intake.aspx
Brian J. Graber, Ltd., is a Chicago employment discrimination lawyer representing employees employed in State of Illinois for employment discrimination claims, workplace harassment, and retaliation claims under the IHRA and federal employment discrimination laws. If you would like a free consultation on an employment discrimination claim or workplace harassment claim, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 or by email.