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June 12, 2010

Illinois Human Rights Commission Presents Human Rights Symposium
Commission, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Lambda Legal and Center on Halsted provide information for victims of discrimination

CHICAGO—The Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC), along with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), Lambda Legal and the Center on Halsted, presented a human rights symposium to discuss the Illinois Human Rights Act and its protections, as well as options available for individuals who have faced discrimination in Illinois.

The IHRC aims to provide a neutral forum for resolving complaints of discrimination filed under the Illinois Human Rights Act.  The Commission’s primary responsibility is to make impartial determinations of whether there has been unlawful discrimination as defined by Act. 

IHRC Chairman the Honorable Martin R. Castro opened the symposium and moderated the event, underscoring the importance of outreach towards building better human relations. 

“This Town Hall is the first of many we hope to host under my term as Chair of the IHRC,” said Chairman Castro.  “This is an important part of our commitment to educate Illinoisans about the protections afforded them by the Act.”

The Honorable IHRC Commissioner Gregory Simoncini coordinated the anti-discrimination symposium and co-moderated the event held at Center on Halsted in Chicago.  Lisa Gilmore, the Center’s Director of Education & Victim Advocacy, welcomed the gathering.

Harriet Parker, General Counsel of the IHRC provided an overview of the Illinois Human Rights Act and detailed the Commission’s process of hearings and proceedings.

IDHR Fair Housing Division Manager Marian Honel outlined the Department’s complaint investigation process.  The Department also assisted individuals wanting to file complaints with the Department on-site.

Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney, Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, provided an overview the Human Rights Act at the national level, provided information on how to address discrimination and discussed the impact of discrimination on the LGBT community.

"Lambda Legal is committed to achieving equality in the workplace for the LGBT community and those with HIV,” said Clark.  “We look forward to speaking to members of the community about their rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act and how best to protect themselves from discrimination in the workplace."

The Illinois Human Rights Commission is dedicated to promoting freedom from unlawful discrimination as defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act. The Act forbids discrimination based on: sex, age, race, color, religion, arrest record, marital status, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, citizenship status (with regard to employment), national origin, ancestry, unfavorable military discharge, familial status (with respect to real estate transactions), military status, sexual harassment, and orders of protection. The Act forbids discrimination in employment, real estate transactions, higher education, public accommodations and access to financial credit.  For further information about the Illinois Human Rights Commission, call 312-814-6269 or visit the Commission’s website: http://www.state.il.us/ihrc/


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