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Sex Discrimination Lawyer in Illinois

Illinois state and federal law prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. Unfortunately, many employees experience adverse treatment at work for these reasons. Our sex discrimination lawyers in Illinois can help you take a stand and fight to right the wrongs you have experienced.

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    Have you been treated differently in the workplace because of your sex? Whether you have been passed over for a promotion because you are pregnant, paid less than less-qualified coworkers, or isolated because of your sexual orientation, you have rights.

    Employers in the state of Illinois are prohibited from discriminating against employees (and job applicants) based on sex. The Illinois sex discrimination attorneys at the Mahoney Law Firm can help you fight to make things right.

    Employment discrimination attorney Ryan Mahoney has fiercely advocated for victims of sex discrimination in Illinois for more than 16 years. He has dedicated his career to helping clients stand up and hold their employers accountable for unlawful and hurtful actions.

    You should never be mistreated because of your sex or an aspect of your sexuality. As an employee in Illinois, you have rights, and the Mahoney Law Firm is here to help you assert them. Call our Madison County, Illinois, law office to discover why you want us to fight for you. We offer a free initial case evaluation, so contact us today.

    What is sex discrimination?

    Sex discrimination is the unfavorable treatment of an employee or job applicant because of their sex. For these purposes, sex is broadly defined to include:

    Adverse treatment because of a person’s gender identity can also be classified as LGBT+ discrimination.

    You might experience sex discrimination in four primary ways at work in Illinois:

    Sometimes sex discrimination can be open and obvious, and other times it can be veiled. If you suspect that you have been mistreated—or treated differently than coworkers—because of your sex, call the Mahoney Law Firm for help. We can review the details of your case and help you understand your legal options.

    What are the four types of sex discrimination?

    Generally speaking, sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy (and pregnancy-related conditions).


    Men and women have the right to be treated equally in the workplace. Unfortunately, research shows that 18 percent of women and 10 percent of men have experienced some type of adverse treatment at work because of their gender.

    This discrimination isn’t without effect. Of men and women who are discriminated against because of their sex, 43 percent say it has negatively impacted their careers.

    Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

    Your sexual orientation has no bearing on your ability to do your job. It should have no impact on your ability to get a job, earn fair pay, move up the corporate ladder, and enjoy the benefits extended to other employees. Unfortunately, many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees have experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

    Illinois is one of 22 states to explicitly protect employees against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.


    Women who are pregnant, planning on getting pregnant, or have recently been pregnant cannot be treated adversely because of their choice to expand their family. Unfortunately, some employers shy away from hiring or promoting women with aspirations to have a family. In fact, 20 percent of women say they have been discriminated against at work for pregnancy or motherhood-related reasons.

    Federal and State Sex Discrimination Laws

    Sex discrimination in the workplace is explicitly prohibited under both federal employment law and Illinois state law.

    Federal Sex Discrimination Laws

    Two federal laws protect employees (and job applicants) from mistreatment based on their sex and related characteristics.

    Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer cannot treat an employee differently or less favorably because of a protected characteristic. Sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, is one of the specific protected characteristics under this federal law. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees as well as the federal government as an employer.

    Under the Equal Pay Act, men and women must receive equal pay for equal work. If a man and a woman hold the same job or have substantially similar job responsibilities, their pay should be equal.

    Illinois Sex Discrimination Law

    The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender-related identity, and pregnancy.

    Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, employment discrimination is defined to include “unequal terms and conditions of employment related to hiring, selection, promotion, transfer, pay, tenure, discharge, and discipline.” As of 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act applies to employers with one or more employees.

    Under both Illinois state and federal law, prohibited sex discrimination might include:

    As an employee in Illinois, you are protected against sex discrimination by both state and federal law.

    What damages can be recovered in an Illinois sex discrimination lawsuit?

    Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act, you can potentially recover compensatory damages—actual damages—and/or punitive damages for sex discrimination. Damages can include:

    It is important to note that compensatory damages for things like mental anguish, embarrassment, or emotional distress are only available when a claim is made under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Bringing a claim under both state and federal law can be beneficial, as both have different applications and benefits.

    How long do I have to file a sex discrimination claim in Illinois?

    You have 300 days from the date of the discriminatory act to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

    Don’t let too much time go by before asserting your legal rights. Once the statute of limitations expires, you forfeit the right to recover compensation and hold your employer accountable for their unlawful discriminatory practices.

    A Trusted Sex Discrimination Lawyer in Illinois Ready To Fight for You

    You don’t deserve to be mistreated because of an aspect of your identity. Your sex and your sexual identity as well as your desire to have a family are an important part of who you are. You shouldn’t be punished for them at work.

    If you have been the victim of sex discrimination in the workplace in Illinois, call the Mahoney Law Firm. Illinois sex discrimination lawyer Ryan Mahoney is ready to help you stand up to your employer and hold them accountable for the harm they have caused.

    Call our law office in Madison County, Illinois, to learn more. We are happy to listen to your side of the story, outline your legal rights and options, and formulate a strategy to achieve your desired results.

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