Protections for gay and transgendered workers put into place by President Obama were already law in Illinois. The executive orders signed by Obama ban federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and adds gender identity to an existing nondiscrimination order covering federal employees.
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Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive of Equality Illinois, says Illinois’ Human Rights Act covers that same ground, except in rare circumstances. “Illinois workers were protected from workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Cherkasov said, “but where the protection stopped is when their companies sent them…to work in other states.”
32 states don’t have laws banning discrimination against gay and transgendered people in hiring. Cherkasov says Illinois’ strong protections should serve as a model to the rest of the country.