April is Fair Housing Month and with the spotlight on fair housing laws it is important that Illinois residents be aware of the state’s newest protected class – order of protection status.

On January 1, 2010, Illinois added “order of protection status” as a new protected class under the Illinois Human Rights Act. With this change, housing can’t be denied to a person based on the fact that the person is covered by an order of protection granted by a court in Illinois or a court from any other state.

It’s important to note that this protection is for the person protected by the order of protection, not the perpetrator.

Since real estate transactions include leases, orders of protection can’t be used as the basis for not leasing to the protected party. The protected class also applies to employment situations.

Learn more about federal fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination based on the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or the familial status of those seeking housing.

The Illinois Human Rights Act further protects citizens from prejudice by identifying protected classes, including the two newest: sexual orientation and order of protection status.

Illinois consumers should also check for any local ordinances that might include additional protected classes in their area.