What is employment discrimination and how can I avoid it?

Discriminatory employment practices include bias in hiring, firing, promotion, job assignment, compensation, retaliation, and harassment based on the protected characteristic of an employee.  Employment discrimination may be overt or subtle but is always illegal when based on an employee’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, citizenship status, and genetic information.

In Illinois, it is also illegal to discriminate based on an employee’s sexual orientation, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy statue, or military status.  In the City of Chicago, moreover, it is unlawful to discriminate based on parental status, source of income, or credit history.

To avoid discrimination or the appearance of discrimination, employers must have set policies in place for important employment actions, apply those policies equally to all employees, current and prospective, and document the reasons for employment decisions to make sure they can show a legitimate reason for unfavorable treatment of an employee.

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