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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysToday, it is not unusual to see stories about sexual harassment or sexual misconduct on the front page of newspapers—or, perhaps more accurately, internet news feeds. This has not always been the case. For many years, sexual harassment was largely a taboo topic. Countless victims suffered in silence while the perpetrators and their employers were never held responsible for their actions.

While the modern-day discussion of sexual harassment was prompted, to a large extent, by the allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein and the resulting #MeToo movement, many historians suggest that specific allegations made almost 30 years ago were instrumental in creating awareness of sexual harassment for the first time in the United States.

Sex Talk on Television

In 1991, a former U.S. Department of Education staffer testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee regarding how she had been treated by her former boss. The woman’s name was Anita Hill, and her boss was a Supreme Court nominee and federal judge Clarence Thomas. Ms. Hill worked as attorney-adviser to Thomas when he was the Assistant Secretary of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights beginning in 1981. Thomas was named chairman of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1982, and Hill went with him as an assistant. She would leave that job in 1983.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIn recent years, sexual harassment and other types of sexual misconduct have taken center stage in the American public’s consciousness. A number of high-profile Hollywood personalities, comedians, politicians, and other figures have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and more.

Sexual harassment, however, is not limited to celebrities. In fact, it is probably taking place at a bar or restaurant near you—possibly even your own workplace.

A Dangerous Profession

According to various studies, bartenders are extremely vulnerable to non-fatal, on-the-job violence—the third-most of any profession. Only law enforcement officers and those who work in security-related jobs are more at risk. Unfortunately, a large portion of such violence is linked to sexual harassment.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_stop-retaliation-sexual-harassment-whistleblower.jpgMost people know that sexual harassment is against the law. However, many do not realize that it is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment. Retaliation can take many different forms, but most involve the employee receiving some type of negative work-related consequence. If an employer retaliates against an employee for filing a sexual harassment complaint, the employee may be entitled to damages. 

You Have a Right to Oppose Unlawful Practices

Equal Employment Opportunity laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report EEO violations. It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against a job applicant or employee who:

  • Complains or threatens to complain about sexual harassment or discrimination
  • Refuses to follow an order that is reasonably thought to be discriminatory
  • Gathers information or evidence from coworkers about a potential EEO claim or
  • Participates in an investigation into alleged sexual harassment or discrimination

When someone is the victim of sexual harassment, including hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo harassment, he or she has a legal right to report the harassment. Whether it is a verbal complaint or a formal report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reporting sexual harassment is a protected act.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against a person because of their sex, national origin, race, or skin color. Since this essential piece of legislation, many more laws have been enacted to prevent employment discrimination, and most recently, workplace sexual harassment. Beginning in 2020, Illinois employers will be subject to new laws designed to prevent and address sexual harassment. If you have been a victim of discrimination or sexual harassment at work, a qualified sexual harassment attorney can help.

Illinois Employers May No Longer Require Arbitration for Sexual Harassment Claims

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Workplace Transparency Act into law in August 2019 and it will go into effect January 1, 2020. The act prohibits employers from unilaterally requiring arbitration for sexual harassment claims or any other claim concerning laws enforced by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IHRA) or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to sign a confidentiality clause that prevents the employees from reporting violations of Equal Employment Opportunity laws including violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Equal Pay Act, Illinois Human Rights Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act.

Special Protections for Hotel and Casino Workers

Individuals working in hotels and other businesses within the hospitality industry are sometimes victims of unwanted sexual remarks and conduct by guests. Starting July 1, 2020, many casino and hospitality employers will be required to implement new procedures including:

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree