The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Employment Discrimination in Chicago

Discrimination in the workplace can take on a number of different forms. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer with fifteen or more employees from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, gender, or religion. The State of Illinois also prohibits employment discrimination under the laws passed through its own legislature.

If you need advice on an employment law issue, including a discrimination case, you should speak with a Chicago employment lawyer.

Recently in Employment Discrimination Category

Ill. Prepares for Medical MJ, but Employers Can Still Fire Potheads

The public is showing a growing interest in Illinois' new medical marijuana program, The Associated Press reports.

Though the law already passed under the state's new four-year medical marijuana pilot program, it has not yet been implemented.

Here are three considerations for Illinois employers and employees to keep in mind concerning medical marijuana:

Can Illinois Businesses Refuse Service to Gays?

Although businesses can refuse to serve customers who don't pay their bills, Illinois businesses likely can't refuse to serve gay people.

While federal law doesn't protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people from discrimination when patronizing businesses, Illinois and Chicago laws forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However, businesses that aren't open to the public may have a legal loophole.

Office Holiday Decorations: 5 Legally Merry Tips

When it comes to office holiday decorations, why shouldn't you be able to celebrate the holidays at work? Before you begin decking the halls of your office, keep in mind that there may be some legal points to consider.

Here are five legally merry tips when it comes to your office holiday decorations:

Can Unpaid Interns Sue for Harassment, Discrimination?

Let's face it, interns have it rough. When they're not overworked and underpaid, they're battling the "casting couch" and enduring crude jokes -- sadly, with little to no legal recourse available.

When unpaid internships take an abusive turn, some interns have sued their employers, as Mother Jones recently reported. But because of how state and federal employment laws are written, most cases don't get very far in court.

What about in Illinois? Can unpaid interns sue for harassment or discrimination in Chi-town?

How Can Employers Deal With Complaints of Racism?

Racist complaints are a nasty black mark on any business. Most employers will want to handle the issue as swiftly and diplomatically as possible.

This usually includes terminating those employees who are responsible for racist behavior at work. But Chicago-area employers should consider the following before making any employment decisions:

Top 5 'Less Obvious' Types of Employment Discrimination

There are some types of discrimination that may not be so obvious.

For example, there are not that many employers nowadays who engage in overt and obvious forms of discrimination. That's why you won't often see a classified ad that states "only whites need apply."

Still, we all know discrimination exists. Here are the Top 5 types of less obvious forms of employment discrimination that you should watch out for:

How to File an Employment Discrimination Claim

You work in a Chicago high-rise and believe that your boss or colleagues are discriminating against you. Can you simply march downstairs to the nearest employment law office and file a lawsuit? The answer is no. Instead, to file a proper claim, you need to follow the steps to file an employment discrimination charge.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles all discrimination charges and you generally must first file your complaint with the agency before bringing a private action.

Here's a look at the steps for filing a charge with the EEOC:

School Turnaround Program Leads To Racial Discrimination Lawsuits

The words "racism" and "discrimination" are probably giving the administrators and legal staff of Chicago Public Schools nausea at this point. Less than two weeks after a lawsuit alleged that a former principal's reforms at a Chicago school negatively impacted African-American students and staff, another lawsuit about reforms and racism has been served on the district, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

For the last decade or so, CPS has carried out a number of "turnaround" programs at underperforming schools. For each school, the entire staff is sent packing and replaced with an entirely new team. The majority of these "turnarounds" have occurred at schools in the South and West Sides. These schools also employ the majority of African-American teachers.

Dillard's Settles Nationwide Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

National department store chain Dillard’s, which has three locations in Illinois, will pay $2 million and undergo significant changes to their policies regarding disabled and sick leave policies. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which brought the suit on behalf of Corina Scott, a former California employee, and an unknown number of others that may have been affected by Dillard’s policies, Dillard’s policies regarding disability leave violated a number of provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Beginning in 2005, Dillard’s adopted a new policy regarding sick leave that required employees to disclose their exact medical condition in order to be approved for leave - even if they had a doctor’s note. Those who took leave without providing specifics were terminated.

Fired Teacher Sues CPS for Racial and Disability Discrimination

Let’s pull out that old cliché about smoke and fire. This is the fourth lawsuit to be filed by a former teacher from George Washington High School since now-retired principal Florence Gonzales took over the school and instituted sweeping changes that left many teachers unemployed and the racial composition of the school drastically altered.

This lawsuit, filed by formerly tenured teacher Michelle Nelson, alleged that she was fired because she is black. A district spokesperson told the Sun-Times that Nelson was fired for cause. What was that cause? She was sleeping at her ex-husband’s house, outside of Chicago, to care for her disabled and wheelchair-bound son.