BIG CHANGE to the Illinois Human Rights Act Will Have a Significant Impact on Illinois Businesses


A big change to the Illinois Human Rights Act will have a significant impact on Illinois businesses. Now is the time to understand this change and plan accordingly.

For the first time ever, non-employees are now covered by the protections offered through the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Non-employees now protected by IHRA provisions include, for example,contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and others.Before this change most IHRA requirements were only applicable to organizations with 15 or more employees and were not applicable to non-employees at all. 

How Might This Impact Your Company?

You have a 55-year-old consultant who provides services to your business.  You replace that consultant with one who is 35 years of age. Before the change in the IHRA, you’d just make the change.  Now, you should be prepared to justify the change you’ve made, in case of challenge.

You have a female vendor who has provided supplies to you for a long time.  You change to a male vendor whose prices, terms and products are primarily the same.  Now, you should be prepared to justify the change, in case of challenge.

The list of potential concerns that could result in Illinois Department of  

Things to Do Now

  • Make an affirmative decision to maintain a workplace characterized by its respect for all and inclusion.  Understand this is both the right thing to do, the legal thing to do and the practical thing to do.
  • Develop a high-quality anti-harassment/non-discrimination policy, which includes references to non-employee rights, and ensure that all who work with you understand what it requires and prohibits.
  • Get some high-quality harassment and discrimination prevention training done.  Good, as opposed to “check the box” sexual harassment training is especially important today. Don’t skimp here – it is false economy – good training will help ensure you have an We’ve been doing anti-harassment/non-discrimination/diversity and inclusion training for decades.  Please see our website for more information:

This is Part Three of a three-part series on recent IDHR and Illinois state employment law changes impacting Illinois employers. For other blogs on this subject please see,

Additional blog posts will be forthcoming on this and other topics.  Please check back often to ensure that you are fully up-to-date on these posts.

1 Comment