Discrimination comes in many forms, and when discrimination occurs on the job, it is always illegal in Chicago. Federal and state antidiscrimination laws apply to every stage of the employer-employee relationship, from posting classified ads to the last day of employment. Additionally, these laws apply to both intentional and unintentional discrimination. So, discrimination victims typically have significant legal rights.
At the Law Office of Mitchell Kline, our Chicago workplace discrimination lawyers stand up for these victims. We protect your important rights, even if an employer ignores them and a government watchdog, like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, remains on the sidelines. Our valuable clients always have stories to tell, and we make sure their voices are heard.
One of the most insidious aspects of workplace discrimination is that, in many cases, employers do not realize they are doing anything wrong. For them, it is just business as usual. Disparate impact discrimination is especially common in smaller businesses that have been family-owned for several generations.
Essentially, disparate impact is a company policy that disproportionately affects certain people groups. For example, different religious faiths, and different sects within the same faith, observe different holy days. If employers order workers to show up on a holy day, the employer infringes on the workers’ religious liberties.
Disparate impact claims are often difficult to establish in court. Frequently, the employer’s policy has a seemingly legitimate basis. For example, Saturdays are normally very busy days for retailers, so mandatory Saturday workdays are not unusual. But many faiths consider Saturday a holy day. Therefore, employers have a duty to offer a reasonable accommodation.
On a side note, religious beliefs are protected if they are sincere. They need not be widespread or commonplace.
Disparate treatment discrimination is treating different groups differently. This kind of discrimination is more common among the larger Chicagoland employers. Frequently, these companies think their size allows them to get away with misconduct. Additionally, many such companies view employees as merely cogs in a machine.
The same legal rules apply to both types of discrimination claims. Once victims make a prima facie case, which basically means membership in a protected class and adverse action, they are usually entitled to a legal remedy, as outlined below.
Protected classes include gender, race, national origin, age, and religion. Adverse action includes any bad act, such as refusal to hire, sidelining, demotion, or termination.
Discrimination victims are entitled to back pay. This compensation is retroactive to the date the discrimination occurred. The law assumes the person would have remained in the position if not for the illegal discrimination.
Future remedies are available, as well. That generally means reinstatement or front pay. Discrimination victims are entitled to the same job with the same perks. If reinstatement is not a practical option for whatever reason, judges award a reasonable amount of future pay.
Employment bias comes in many forms. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago workplace discrimination lawyer, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline.