ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Recognizing the vital role of caregivers, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, helped pass legislation recently that would expand Illinois law to include “family responsibilities” as a protected category against discrimination in the workplace.

“Life can change in the blink of an eye — as someone who spent time as a single parent, I know that some situations are beyond our control. When we step up to take care of our loved ones in an emergency, it’s crucial that we, families, can juggle this responsibility without fear of losing one’s job when asking to do this,” said Manley. “By working with employers, we acknowledge that caregiving responsibilities are valued and should not be a barrier to equal treatment or opportunities in the workplace.”

Currently in Illinois law, “unlawful discrimination” includes discrimination against a person due to their race, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or pregnancy, among other factors. To protect workers who care for family members, Manley recently helped pass House Bill 2161, amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to add “family responsibilities” to the definition of “unlawful discrimination.” This would cover both actual or perceived care to a family member in the past, present, or future.

During her time in the General Assembly, Manley has worked to champion support for those who are taking care of loved ones and family members. Last year, she passed legislation creating the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Pilot Program in Will County, which provides resources to grandparents in caregiving roles. Manley also passed legislation out of committee earlier this year to provide funding to local agencies for programs that empower families.

“It’s important we recognize the reality that many employees have caregiving responsibilities outside of work, whether for children, elderly parents, or other family members. Caregiving can put an enormous strain on families — both financially and emotionally. No one should face backlash for putting their loved ones first,” said Manley. “Reasonable accommodation should not cost anyone their job.”

Rep. Natalie ManleyRep. Natalie Manley


Assistant Majority Leader

98th District

Springfield Office:
300 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3316

District Office:
1050 W. Romeo Rd.
Suite 101
Romeoville, IL 60446
(815) 725-2741