Sexual Orientation Discrimination

State and Federal Protection against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

While there is no specific federal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency, is now investigating charges of sexual orientation discrimination and addressing them as claims of sex discrimination. The state of Illinois, however, has an explicit protection under the Illinois Human Rights Act against unlawful discrimination based on employees’ sexual orientation. Those discriminated against due to their sexual orientation can file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). The Illinois Act defines sexual orientation as “actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth.” In addition to the EEOC and IDHR investigating charges of sexual orientation discrimination, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights (CCCHR), enforces the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance which protects all people who live and work in the County from discrimination and sexual harassment in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit transactions, County services and County contracting when discriminated or harassed based on their sexual orientation. Likewise, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), also protects against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.

Links to Agencies:

Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR): https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/FilingaCharge/Pages/FAQ_Section_II.aspx#Q12

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/otherprotections.cfm

Cook County Commission on Human Rights (CCCHR): https://library.municode.com/HTML/13805/level3/PTIGEOR_CH42HURE_ARTIIHURI.html#TOPTITLE%20On/Legal%20Documents/cc_human_rights_ord.pdf

Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR):

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