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Workplace Discrimination Is Illegal and Should Be Investigated

In Illinois, it is illegal to discriminate in the workplace. If you have been a victim of discrimination, call an experienced Chicago employment lawyer.

In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • Their race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Age 40 or over
  • Military service
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Citizenship status
  • Physical handicap
  • Mental handicap
  • Ancestry
  • Unfavorable military discharge

If you work in Illinois, you are protected from anyone discriminating against you, for any reason, and for all of the conditions of your employment. That would include, but may not be limited to:

  • Transfer
  • Pay
  • Tenure
  • Selection
  • Harassment
  • Promotion
  • Demotion
  • Performance assessment
  • Employment conditions
  • Seniority
  • Union representation
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Layoffs

Not sure how to figure out if there is discrimination in your workplace? Take a look around you and watch how people are treated. You can often figure out if someone is being discriminated against by how they are treated. For example, sexual discrimination often takes place in the form of unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances, asking for sexual favors, or if a superior suggests a person’s position at a company is dependent upon the person having sex with the supervisor/manager. That kind of conduct violates anti-discrimination laws if it gets in the way of job performance or creates a hostile, offensive or intimidating work environment.

There are other forms of discrimination, and one of them relates to an employer not providing a reasonable accommodation for a worker. This can include if someone needs a special monitor to do their job or a certain kind of desk with more space to perform their tasks. Interestingly, this reasonable accommodation provision is also applicable to a person’s religion. This is not to say that a company has to hire those not otherwise qualified for a job, but that they need to make reasonable accommodations whenever it would not cause undue hardship for the employer.

If you are an employer and not clear on what you need to do in the workplace with regard to discrimination, make it a point to contact an experienced Chicago employment lawyer. It is vital you get the right kind of information about discrimination and how to avoid running afoul of the law. Your Chicago employment lawyer has many years in the trenches handling cases dealing with discrimination. You could not ask for better legal counsel.

Timothy Coffey is a <a href=”http://www.employmentlawcounsel.com”>Chicago employment lawyer</a> and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace. To learn more or to contact a <a href=”http://www.employmentlawcounsel.com”>Chicago employment attorney</a>, visit Employmentlawcounsel.com.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 7:39 pm and is filed under Discrimination
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Bad Credit History is a New Form of Discrimination

A company is not allowed to refuse to hire Latinos or blacks because of a criminal record or bad credit.

In a recent move to even greater equity in the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is warning companies that they may not use credit history information as criteria for hiring or firing. This comes about as a result of the EEOC suing Kaplan Higher Education Corp. for doing precisely that – using credit history information that had a major “disparate impact on black job applicants.”

Another of the EEOCs lawsuits is against Freeman Cos., sued for using criminal records and credit checks to screen applicants for their national events and exhibition marketing company. The EEOC is bound and determined to erase racism and “colorism” from the workplace. And if the statistics are any indication, they have their work cut out for them, as the number of workplace discrimination suits shot up to 99,922 in 2010.

These particular lawsuits are the tip of the iceberg in an initiative to dissolve what is referred to as arbitrary barriers for minorities to find work. Is this controversial? Yes, because the lack definition of what has an adverse effect on blacks and other minorities has always been a hot button and the focal point of disputes. It is one facet of discrimination law that troubles many Chicago employment lawyers and the courts.

The EEOC indicates that things such as background checks may wrongly exclude a large majority of minority job applicants. On the other side of the fence, many employment lawyers feel that if the criteria for hiring is not racially motivated and it is used for everyone who applies for a job, then it is not racially discriminatory. Put another way, it is not anyone else’s business (i.e. the government) to try and second-guess hiring practices unless the job applicants are being treated differently because of their race.

Of interest is that the Supreme Court has not viewed the “disparate impact” with any degree of favor over the years. In fact, two years ago, they ruled that the City of New Haven had discriminated against white firefighters who had high scores when it chucked out a promotion test because it had an adverse impact on black firefighters. Unfortunately, the court did not see fit at the time to clarify the issue any further.

Such hiring practices are not inherently illegal even if they do happen to have a negative impact on minorities. But, having said that, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the hiring criteria is necessary for the job being applied for in the first place; something that is not always easy to do.

If you happen to be facing a situation that you feel is adversely affecting your ability to get a job, then you need to speak to a highly qualified Chicago employment lawyer. You need to find out your rights, how the law as it exists applies to your case and what your options are in dealing with your situation.

Timothy Coffey is a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace. To learn more or to contact a Chicago employment attorney, visit Employmentlawcounsel.com.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 5:02 pm and is filed under Discrimination
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Religious Discrimination Becoming a Potential Landmine

Reverse discrimination is becoming a potential landmine of legal issues. Laws to protect the rights of minorities may result in discrimination against others.

In a rather unusual case reported in the media, a relationship counselor was dismissed when he said he would not provide sex therapy for a homosexual couple. The counselor felt that the Bible’s point of view about homosexuality made it impossible for him to give the two advice. His co-workers deemed that unacceptable and he was fired.

The man took his case to court and stated he was a victim of religious discrimination and had been fired for refusing to act against his beliefs. His claim was not successful and the courts referred to it as irrational and capricious. Pundits watching this case feel that situations like this have the potential to create an imbalance in laws set up to protect the rights of minorities with the end result that those with religious beliefs are discriminated against.

Some regard this ruling as a bellwether signaling the death of religious literacy, because instead of protecting minorities from genuine discrimination, the courts may have created an imbalance in favor of minorities. In this particular case, many feel that the courts are not particularly cognizant of how vital and important religious teachings and convictions are to some individuals, despite the common mores of the rest of society.

Where will this rather new development lead? It is an interesting question and one whose answers likely lies in what society versus the courts feel is relevant and represents reality. The reality of today is that most people accept the fact that gay couples are a part of society. For those that do not accept this precept, their journey is a different one with no clear destination in mind. Reverse discrimination is an issue just beginning to poke its head up in various court cases. How the courts deal with it will be another question.

If you feel you have been a victim of religious discrimination in a similar matter or another form, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Chicago employment lawyer. Discrimination is a very difficult and diverse area of the law and you need to know if your particular situation may be handled in court or through negotiations. Without the assistance of a skilled Chicago employment lawyer, cases like this are difficult to resolve.

Timothy Coffey is a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace. To learn more or to contact a Chicago employment attorney, visit Employmentlawcounsel.com.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 at 5:03 pm and is filed under Discrimination
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Know your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protection to individual with disabilities in several ways. Disability discrimination may occur because of a current disability, and it also may occur when a covered employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably because he or she has a history of a disability. And example of this would be cancer that is controlled or in remission. Discrimination may also occur if an indicidual is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor – even if he or she does not have such an impairment.

The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”).

The law also protects people from discrimination based on their relationship with a person with a disability (even if they do not themselves have a disability). For example, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because her husband has a disability.

Note that not everyone with a medical condition is protected by the law. In order to be protected, a person must be qualified for the job and have a disability as defined by the law.

Learn more about the ADA and protect conditions here.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at 7:27 pm and is filed under Disability and FMLA, Discrimination, Employment Law
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The Coffey Law Office offers helpful employment tips

The Coffey Law Office strives to provide clients with quality representation and useful information concerning Employment Law issues. To these ends, we are please to offer employment tips. A brief sample includes:

  • If you feel that you have been let go illegally, such as being fired as the result of you filing a discrimination complaint, Illinois has a statute of limitations. This means your claim has to be filed within a certain specified time period or you can’t take action on it. This is vital to discuss with your attorney.
  • Be aware that when you are working and for the first year after you have left your place of work, voluntarily or involuntarily, you’re entitled to a copy of your personnel records within 7 days after you ask for them. If you do not get them, you need to report that to the Illinois Department of Labor.
  • If you have been let go and are being subjected to some rude and possibly intimidating behavior, remain respectful and say nothing. Whatever you say could come back to haunt you later if a judge and jury hears what you said.

View all tips here.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at 6:17 pm and is filed under Discrimination, Employment Law, Harassment, News and Press
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