What are the Illinois Anti-Discrimination Laws?

Protected Classes

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, as amended, it is illegal for an employer to take adverse employment action against an employee because of his or her sex, pregnancy, race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, religion, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, order of protection status, military status, sexual orientation, or gender-related identity.  The Illinois Human Rights Act also prohibits retaliation, as well as sexual harassment in employment and higher education.

Number of Employees Required for Coverage

The Illinois Human Rights Act, as amended, now applies to all Illinois employers who employ 1 or more employees in Illinois.   

Prohibited Employment Actions 

Under Illinois law, the prohibited adverse employment actions include not only employment termination, but many other tangible job actions, such as demotions, failure to promote, failure to hire, pay cuts, unequal terms and conditions of employment, unequal pay, unequal benefits, pay discrimination, workplace harassment, and retaliation.

Remedies for Employment Discrimination under Illinois Employment Law

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, an employee who prevails in an employment discrimination action may recover back pay, front pay, lost benefits, uncapped compensatory damages for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, but not punitive damages.