Sexual Orientation Discrimination & Harassment

Consider the following scenarios:

  • An interviewer tells a job applicant that the Company does not hire gay employees.
  • An employee is terminated after his boss discovers that he is gay and tells the employee that he does not want to work with gay employees.
  • An employee is repeatedly subject to verbal harassment and derogatory comments because she is gay.

In 2017, the first federal appellate court extended anti-discrimination protection under Title VII to include discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Seventh Circuit determined that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a kind of sex discrimination that is already a protected category. At this time, the Seventh Circuit, with appellate jurisdiction over federal courts in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, is the only federal circuit to protect LGBTQ employees under Title VII. 

Many states have no laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. However, Illinois is not one of those states. The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. In this state, plaintiffs can file discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases directly in state court.

Our attorneys have already successfully represented gay clients before the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and in severance negotiations. Our scope of representation will broaden by filing sexual orientation cases in Illinois state and federal courts.

Our Employment Law Services

Protections for LGBTQ employees are becoming stronger. Our attorneys are committed to equality in the workplace, and have negotiated favorable resolutions for many LGBTQ clients. If you have questions about discrimination on sexual orientation, or feel that your employer has violated the Illinois Human Rights Act, contact Siegel & Dolan to speak to a Chicago employment lawyer.

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