What is Employment Discrimination in Illinois?

Illinois law makes it illegal to discriminate against protected classes of individuals. Discrimination occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action like terminating an employee or transferring him or her or changing the terms and conditions of employment based on the person’s:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • History
  • Age if 40 and Over
  • Disability
  • Marital Status
  • Citizenship Status
  • Language
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Unfavorable Military Discharge
  • Arrest Record
  • Domestic Violence Victim Status

Are Wage and Overtime Disputes Protected by Illinois Law?

Illinois law requires employers to pay employees minimum wage. In 2019, minimum wage is set at $8.25 for non-exempt employees except employees can be paid $7.75 per hour for their first 90 days. The minimum wage will adjust to $9.25 on January 1, 2020 and will continue to increase until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025. Overtime pay for hours worked over a 40-hour workweek must be paid at 1.5 times the base rate of pay. If employers do not comply with these laws, they can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor.

What is the Dispute Resolution Process?

The dispute resolution process uses alternatives to litigation to resolve a conflict or claim. These alternatives avoid having a court decide how to resolve the dispute after a long and expensive process. Dispute resolution processes are often more affordable and resolve problems faster than going through the traditional legal process. They often provide greater control of the outcome to the parties. Examples of dispute resolution processes include mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, facilitation, and negotiation and settlement conferences.

What Is an Employee Dispute?

An employee dispute is a disagreement in the employment context, usually between an employee and employer, although some disputes may be between co-workers. Typical employee disputes include:

  • • Unpaid wage claims in which employees allege they have not been properly compensated
  • Allegations of discrimination or harassment in the workplace
  • Allegations of wrongful termination
  • Disagreements about workers’ compensation claims
  • Interpersonal relation problems between coworkers or workers and managers

What Happens in Employee Mediation?

In employee mediation, the parties meet with an independent third-party who guides them toward an amicable resolution of their case. The employee and employer may be sent to different rooms while the mediator funnels information back and forth between the parties. During these private meetings, the mediator also communicates about the weaknesses in the party’s argument so that they will have a better idea about their case and the possible outcome. The mediator may encourage the parties to brainstorm possible solutions to the problem. If the parties reach an agreement, a written contract is drafted that states the terms of the agreement.