­Senator Villivalam


SPRINGFIELD – To ensure that all residents have access to good-paying work, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) passed legislation in the Illinois Senate that would prohibit employers from discriminating against an applicant based on their current federal work authorization status.

“Those authorized to work in the United States should not face employment discrimination,” Villivalam said. “All residents of Illinois deserve access to good work that pays living wages.”

The legislation would make it a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) for employers, employment agencies and labor organizations to discriminate against individuals based on their federal work authorization status, without regard to how or why they obtained their work authorization. This is an initiative of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in response to recent employment discrimination lawsuits filed against employers for refusing to hire Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and is supported by several immigrant rights and business groups.

“Historically MALDEF has protected the employment rights of the most vulnerable, and we are proud to help ensure that DACA recipients and others with work authorization are protected from discrimination in Illinois.” said Griselda Vega Samuel, MALDEF Midwest Regional Counsel.

Under current law, it is a violation of the IHRA to discriminate against an individual based on their citizenship status. DACA recipients are not protected under this provision, however.

“Illinois is a diverse state that offers opportunity to all,” Villivalam said. “Ensuring that our immigrant communities have their fair share of that opportunity is a top priority.”

House Bill 121 passed the Illinois Senate and awaits consideration in the Illinois House.