Illinois Human Rights
The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits the discrimination of a person’s basic rights. Basic rights of citizens of Illinois include discrimination against Race, Color, Religion, National Origin, Ancestry, Age (40 and over), Sex, Marital Status, Order of Protection Status, Physical and Mental Disability, Military Status, Sexual Orientation (including gender-related identity), and/or Unfavorable Military Discharge. The Illinois Human Rights Act is dedicated to protecting its citizens from companies who might exclude hiring a person based on sexual orientation, disability, and/or unfavorable military discharge, protecting them from financial credit discrimination if a company fails to issue a credit card after an application has been properly completed, among other possible violations.
In July 2013, Exxon was brought up on charges of discrimination against sexual orientation by Freedom to Work. Freedom to Work is an organization designed to help prevent discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender Americans. The basis of the law suit is that two applications applying for the same position were sent to Exxon’s corporate office in Illinois. One application showed a higher GPA, longer work history, and that the applicant volunteered with a gay organization in college. This applicant was seen has being better qualified for the job, but was not awarded the position. Freedom to Work is also seeking federal awareness of this type of discrimination against human rights.
Progress has been made in Illinois as the state is considered as having some of the toughest Human Rights laws in the nation. However in May 2013, Illinois citizens, who are considered Conservatives, are facing the choice of losing their license, closing a business, or allowing marriage equity which is against their beliefs. Many institutions where marriages are preformed will either have to allow same-sex civil unions or close the business. This is a major issue with religious institutions where same sex unions are considered forbidden.
Violations of the Human Rights Act have been narrowed down to the following areas: employment, real estate transactions, financial credit, public accommodations, and education. The general process begins with the person who was discriminated against filing charges with the Illinois Human Rights Department. The charges are reviewed by the department. If there is evidence found of discrimination, the documentation is sent to the Human Rights Commission who will proceed with a hearing which is similar to a trial in court. At the close of the hearing, the Commission will make a ruling called an “Order and Decision”. Once the Order and Decision has been reached the violator, if found guilty, will have to follow the instructions for restitution based on the decision.
The Illinois Human Rights Act is one of the toughest in the nation providing security and equality for the citizens of Illinois. The legislature and citizens of Illinois are continuously to find the way looking in to the act help its citizens with their basic rights and prevent discrimination.