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Transgender Workers in IL Protected Against Workplace Discrimination

Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace still occurs each and every day. This was the reason for the implementation of both federal and state protections. Under federal law, that no one can discriminate against someone else on the basis of their race, religion, nation of origin, age, sex, or color. Then, in 2006, the state of Illinois also added “sexual orientation” to its Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), in order to extend protection to those within the LGBTQIA community. Later on, Illinois further amended the act to include “gender identity.” This provides protection to transgender individuals. 

Protected Groups Under the IHRA

Now, under the IHRA, employees in the following groups are protected:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • Order of Protection status
  • Disability
  • Arrest record (in employment)
  • Familial status (in housing)
  • Sexual orientation (including gender identity

Areas of Protection in the Workplace

The protection of these groups from discrimination extends to many aspects of employment:

  • Interviewing/Hiring
  • Selection
  • Transfer
  • Pay/salary
  • Tenure
  • Promotion
  • Discipline
  • Termination/discharge

Additionally, the Illinois Hate Crimes Act was amended in 2016 in order to provide specific protection to transgender people against hate and discrimination. The Act explicitly names gender identity as a protected group of people. 

If someone violates either the Illinois Human Rights Act or the Illinois Hate Crimes Act, he or she is considered to have committed a crime and can therefore be prosecuted for their actions under state law. 

Failure to Act When on Notice

It’s important to note that under recent case law when municipal employers fail to properly train their public employees regarding workplace violations that they have been made aware of, they may be considered to have condoned these violations of the law. This was the situation in the 2021 case of Arriaga v. Dart. In this case, Selene Danielle Arriaga, a transgender female police officer, filed a suit because her employer disclosed her status as a transgender woman as well as her private medical information and subsequently failed to stop discrimination and harassment that she faced as a result. While her employer filed to dismiss the case, the judge denied the request, holding the aforementioned to be true: when an employer is on notice of workplace violations but fails to do anything, it may be equivalent to condonation. 

The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help

If you believe that you or a loved one has been discriminated against or harassed at your place of employment, and believe that it is because of an illegal reason (a state-protected reason or a reason related to you belonging to a protected class of people), you should be able to remedy the situation through monetary compensation and/or reinstatement to your position. A knowledgeable and experienced Illinois employment law attorney can help you to fight for what you deserve. The qualified attorneys at ST Legal Group can help to protect your employment rights. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!