If you are employed in Illinois, there is a good chance that you are considered to be an “at-will” employee. This means that your employer can terminate you for (just about) any reason or no reason and you may quit for the same. However, there stand some exceptions to this. Employers may not terminate (or discriminate against) an employee merely for the fact that they fall into a certain (protected) group of people. In other words, an employer may not discriminate against an employee because of his or her race, color, national origin, religion, sex (for wage discrimination), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or age (40 and older). But while most of this is clear, people often fail to understand the difference between someone’s race and color.
Color vs. Race
Color and race are different. Color refers to someone’s complexion or skin color. Someone can discriminate against you because of your race. But they can also discriminate against you based on your skin color, possibly perceiving you as a different race. For instance, someone might discriminate against an employee because they are Mexican or they may discriminate against someone because of their skin color because they believe they are Mexican). You don’t have to be the race that you are perceived to be in order for this discrimination to be illegal.
If you are able to prove that you were discriminated against due to your race or skin color, you may have a claim under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What Behavior is Discriminatory?
So, what does discriminatory behavior look like? Any of the following can be considered discrimination:
- Receiving further requirements of inquiries during the hiring process when compared to other candidates;
- Being harassed
- Being segregated or classified based on your skin color
- Receiving less compensation
- Not receiving the same employment terms, conditions, or privileges as others
- Retaliating against you – especially after you bring a discrimination claim
Always Report Incidents of Discrimination
In Illinois, you have 180 days from the date of when you believed you have been discriminated against by your employer to report it. Federal employees only have 45 days.
If you fail to report the discriminatory behavior within this time, you may be barred from recovering any compensation. That’s why it’s so important to file a claim as soon as you can. It’s in your best interest to consult with a qualified Illinois employment law attorney who can help to assess your case and walk you through the process.
The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help
If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of the color of your skin, you may be entitled to 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!