This week in Springfield, members of the Illinois Senate will consider an important bill that aims to protect workers against racial discrimination. If enacted, SB 1485 would require the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) to establish a telephone hotline and online portal for workers impacted by racial discrimination and harassment to anonymously report and pursue complaints. In order to advance this critical piece of legislation, WCRJ is calling on our allies and supporters to take action.
In Illinois, the prevalence of racialized discrimination in the workplace has had devastating consequences for workers of color. The state's Black unemployment levels have remained the highest in the nation since 2016, with Black constituents facing joblessness at more than twice Illinois' average rate. When controlling for a wide range of employment factors, these staggering racialized disparities persist, establishing that elevated rates of Black unemployment are the direct result of widespread hiring discrimination. Moreover, in recent years, race-based wage discrimination in Illinois has risen to levels not seen in 40 years, with Black workers currently earning only 71% of white workers' take-home pay.
The overwhelming majority of labor discrimination and harassment cases go unreported, often due to a fear of retaliation or job loss. Illinois workers currently lack accessible resources to confidentially pursue workplace complaints. SB 1485 would offer employees a low threshold entry point, either online on by telephone, to anonymously report racial discrimination and harassment.
Your voice is crucial to advancing the fight for racial equity, opportunity and justice. Advocate for the change you want to see in your city, state and beyond by visiting WCRJ’s Racial Justice Online Action Center and demanding policy action of your elected officials now.