The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or pregnancy (IL Comp. Stat. Ch. 775 Sec. 5/2-101 et seq.). The Act defines "sexual orientation" as actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person's designated sex at birth (IL Comp. Stat. Ch. 775 Sec. 5/1-103).
Order of protection status. The Act also prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of order of protection status. "Order of protection status" is defined as the status of a person protected under an order of protection issued under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act or a similar order issued by a court of another state ( IL Comp. Stat. Ch. 775 Sec. 5/1-103(K-5)..
Covered employers. The Act applies to all public employers, all public contractors, and private employers with 15 or more employees. The Act's pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment provisions apply to all private employers, regardless of size.
Bona fide occupational qualification exception (BFOQ). It may be permissible to hire an individual on the basis of sex because of a BFOQ for a particular job. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, however, and employers should use caution in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that have a discriminatory effect.