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Oak Park Employment Discrimination Lawyers

Oak Park Employment Discrimination Lawyers

Like most other states, Illinois is an at-will employment jurisdiction. In most cases, employers can fire employees at any time, for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Likewise, employees usually have the right to unilaterally walk off the job. Anti-discrimination laws normally do not apply to employees when they quit. But these laws do protect employees when their bosses fire them. These laws also apply at other critical junctures, such as hiring, time off, and promotion.

These important rights are only ink on paper until someone, most likely an assertive Oak Park employment discrimination lawyer like Mitchell Kline, enforces these rights in court. Government lawyers from the EEOC and other such agencies usually only accept cases that jive with the current administration’s political agenda. A private Oak Park employment discrimination lawyer, on the other hand, is committed to you.

Types of Employment Discrimination

The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits disparate impact and disparate treatment discrimination. Subsequent federal and state laws, like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Illinois Human Rights Act, reinforce these prohibitions.

Disparate impact discrimination is usually unintentional bias. The work rule, on its face, is neutral. But it disproportionately affects certain protected classes. 

An English-only requirement is a good example. According to many, these policies build a sense of unity among workers. Once again, to many people, conversing in a different language is like talking behind someone’s back.

These goals are laudable. But an English-only requirement isn’t the only way to forge team spirit. Furthermore, such a policy obviously discriminates against people who don’t speak English very well or at all.

Under current law, English-only policies are legal if applied only to customer-facing workers. For instance, a restaurant can require its wait staff to speak only English. But the restaurant cannot force kitchen staff to speak only English.

Disparate treatment discrimination is blatantly treating people differently because they are different. Anti-discrimination laws apply if:

  • The plaintiff was in a protected class (age, ethnicity, gender, etc.), 
  • The boss took adverse action against that person (e.g., refusal to hire or promote), and
  • The company cannot provide a legitimate, neutral reason for that adverse action.

Assume the boss docks Raul’s pay because he is late. The boss does not dock Mike’s pay, even though he and Raul perform basically the same job and have basically the same work record. In court. Raul’s boss would be hard-pressed to prove that the action was legally neutral.

Remedies Available

Employment discrimination plaintiffs are usually entitled to compensatory damages and a consent decree.

Compensatory damages usually include adverse action reversal, if appropriate. If the plaintiff has left the job and does not want to return, which is usually the case, the boss must pay back wages and a reasonable amount of front wages. Other economic losses, such as moving expenses, are compensable as well. Some courts also award noneconomic damages for pain and suffering.

Perhaps more importantly, the court usually issues a consent decree. This order forces the employer to make changes. Employers who refuse to change the way they do business often face stiff penalties. In other words, a consent decree helps ensure that future workers don’t endure the same thing the plaintiff endured.

Count on a Thorough Cook County Attorney

Job bias victims have legal options in Illinois. For a free consultation with an experienced Oak Park employment discrimination attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.