Definitions

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment

You have a right to be free of sexual harassment in the workplace, housing, educational or business environment.

Sexual harassment is unwanted, deliberate or repeated sexual behavior. Sexual harassment can include the display of sexually suggestive objects, signs, magazines, or pictures, or the sending of sexually suggestive emails or text messages to persons who do not want this attention.

Sexual harassment can also be a subtle or direct requirement that a sexual or social relationship is part of your job, your housing, or your educational performance. For example, making any part of your job (such as wages, promotions, references or working conditions), any part of your housing (such as your rent, your security deposit or lease renewal), or any part of your educational performance (such as grades, honors, course work, or scholarships) contingent on submission to the sexual behavior.

Sexual Harassment

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects Illinois employees, tenants, students and others from sexual harassment.

In employment, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment, and submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making decisions about your employment; or
  2. such conduct interferes with your job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

In education, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors made to a student by an executive, administrative staff or faculty member, or any conduct of a sexual nature that substantially interferes with the student’s educational performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.

In public accommodations, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors made by a place of public accommodation, such as persons who own or work at hotels, restaurants/bars, stores and gyms. Public officials are also considered places of public accommodation.

In housing, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors made by a landlord, property owner, housing provider, manager or staff, that results in a housing environment which is intimidating, hostile, offensive or significantly less desirable.

Retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment is also prohibited by the Illinois Human Rights Act. Retaliation is conduct intended to deter or dissuade a person from making a complaint or filing a report of sexual harassment, or participating in an investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Human Rights or other similar agency

What is Sex Discrimination?

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination is an adverse action or harassment based on sex (the status of being male or female) which is not necessarily sexual in nature.

  • A person may feel or believe they have been discriminated against based on sex because they have been harmed or disfavored while a person of another gender has been treated better in a similar situation.
  • Sex discrimination includes harassment that is not sexual in nature but expresses a bias or hostility about a person’s gender.
  • Sex discrimination includes an adverse action that is pregnancy-related.

Sex Discrimination

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects Illinois employees, tenants, students and others from sex discrimination.

Sex discrimination is an adverse action or harassment based on sex (the status of being male or female) that is not necessarily sexual in nature. Sex discrimination includes an adverse action that is pregnancy-related.

Examples of sex discrimination in employment:

  • Judy and Ken are hired on the same date as accountants for XYZ Corp. They are equally qualified. XYZ pays Ken more than Judy because he is male.

  • XYZ Corp only hires women to work at its front desk reception area and men to work in its manufacturing area.

  • XYZ Corp posts a position for a management job. Judy and Ken apply. Judy is better qualified for the position. XYZ hires Ken because Judy is pregnant and nearing the time of her maternity leave.

Examples of sex discrimination in housing:

  • Judy and Ken are friends who apply for one-bedroom apartments at XYZ Apartments. They are both leased apartments. However, Judy later learns that she was charged a higher security deposit fee than Ken for her apartment. The Leasing Coordinator charged her a higher fee because she is a woman.

  • Judy and Ken apply for apartments at XYZ Apartments. The Leasing Coordinator rents an apartment to Judy. The Leasing Coordinator does not rent an apartment to Ken believing men cause more trouble than women.

  • Judy and Ken are potential home buyers. They go to a realtor at XYZ Realty Corp. The realtor fails to inform Judy about the available listings in her price range and desired living area, but does so for Ken because he is a man.

Examples of sex discrimination in public accommodations:

  • Judy and Ken go to XYZ Theater to see a movie. Upon entry, Ken is subjected to a security search, however Judy is not. Later, Ken finds out the theater only searches men as potential threats to security.

Examples of sex discrimination in financial credit:

  • Judy, who is married to Ken, goes to buy a car. Judy needs a loan to purchase the car. Judy is gainfully employed and capable of paying her auto loan by herself. However, XYZ Auto Dealers will not finance her unless Ken co-signs her auto loan.

Retaliation for complaining about discrimination is prohibited by the Illinois Human Rights Act. Retaliation is conduct intended to punish, deter or dissuade a person from making a complaint or filing a report of sexual harassment or discrimination, or participating in an investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Human Rights or other similar agency.