Search form

Illinois Bans Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

  • February 8, 2005

On January 21, 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act that will prohibit discrimination on the basis of an individual's sexual orientation. Effective January 1, 2006, the amended Act specifically prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and certain financial transactions. Sexual orientation is defined as an individual's "actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person's designated sex at birth." The Illinois Department of Human Rights is vested with enforcement authority under the amended Act.

The new law means employers will be prohibited from refusing to hire, fire or otherwise discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered individuals in any terms or conditions of employment. It also prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in the sale of real estate, the rental of owner-occupied buildings with more than five units, financial credit, and public accommodation.

Although Cook County and several Illinois cities including Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, Decatur, DeKalb, Evanston, LaGrange, Moline, Naperville, Normal, Oak Park, Peoria, Springfield, and Urbana have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the amended Act applies to all cities and counties statewide. Local laws providing more comprehensive protections than the state law will still apply after January 1, 2006.

The Illinois amendment is part of the growth of a trend in extending protection against discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation, including gender identity.  Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Neighboring states Minnesota and Wisconsin also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

While all employers periodically should review and update employee handbooks and policies to ensure compliance with federal, state, and municipal anti-discrimination laws, employers doing business in Illinois must do so before January 1, 2006 to insure compliance with the newly amended Act.

For the full text of the Illinois Human Rights Act, as recently amended, please visit: http://ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=093-1078.

©2005 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

June 25, 2019

New York City to Prohibit Retaliation for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation

June 25, 2019

On June 13, 2019, the New York City Council passed Intro 799 to prohibit retaliation against individuals who make a request for a reasonable accommodation under any applicable provision of chapter 1 of the New York City Human Rights Law. The bill awaits Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature. The Mayor is expected to sign it. The bill takes... Read More

June 25, 2019

Are General Contractors Liable for Their Subcontractors’ Actions or Inactions?

June 25, 2019

A general contractor in Southern California found itself on the hook for its subcontractor’s failure to pay wages to its workers, even though the general contractor had no knowledge of it. The case illustrates an important reminder for general contractors. The general contractor was fined close to $600,000 under a 2017 California... Read More

June 25, 2019

How to Lower Risk by Cutting Harmful Company Documents

June 25, 2019

While company documents are necessary, some can expose a company to liability and other harms. Knowing how to identify and cut the harmful ones may help a company lower corporate risks. Here are three ways a company can assess the state of its documents and correct any issues. 1. Dishonest Documents A dishonest document may... Read More

Related Practices