Almost 75 years after lawmakers passed the landmark Civil Rights Act, employment discrimination is still a serious problem in Chicago. Power is often at the root of workplace bias. Companies illegally discriminate because they think they can get away with it. Other companies discriminate because that is the way they have always done business, and no one has ever stopped them. In either case, discrimination hurts, and the victims need and deserve compensation for what they went through.
Even though Illinois is an at-will employment state, which means employers can fire employees at almost any time, Mitchell Kline, a detail-oriented employment discrimination attorney near you, pinpoints your legal options. He is also an employment lawyer near you in every sense of the phrase. Our main office is conveniently located near the Chicago Theater. Furthermore, our legal team is with you to the end. We do not refer these claims to an employment discrimination attorney far from you.
As mentioned above, employers discriminate for several reasons, and there are two basic kinds of employment discrimination in Illinois.
Taking adverse action against employees because they are in a protected class is disparate treatment discrimination. These protected classes include:
In Chicago and most parts of Illinois, the sexual orientation protected class includes most workers on the LGBTQ spectrum.
An English-only policy is an example of disparate impact discrimination. Such a policy technically applies to everyone, but it disproportionately affects workers with limited English skills.
Discrimination could happen at any point in the employer-employee relationship. This relationship includes pre-employment contacts, like interviews, and post-employment contacts, like recommendations and referrals.
Legally, a discrimination victim’s first stop is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or its state equivalent, the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The state’s Human Rights Act provides slightly more protection than the Civil Rights Act. So, an employment discrimination lawyer near you always closely examines both possibilities.
Occasionally, government agencies effectively enforce the law and obtain compensation for victims. Usually, however, political agendas and budget restrictions handcuff these agencies. As a result, these lawyers often are not very interested in individual discrimination claims.
If government bureaucrats refuse to stand up for your rights, an employment discrimination lawyer near you stands in the gap. The legal elements of a public and private discrimination claim are the same. First, the plaintiff must establish membership in a protected class, as outlined above. Second, the plaintiff must establish direct discrimination, also as outlined above, or indirect discrimination, which is usually retaliation.
Third, the company may argue that it had a discrimination-neutral reason for its policy. Fourth, the plaintiff must prove that the “neutral reason” was a discrimination pretext or cover-up.
Damages in an employment discrimination claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as lost wages, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme cases.
Job discrimination comes in many forms. For a free consultation with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer near you, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline.