A National Award-Winning Publication

The Labor Advocate, Worker Protector


Yolanda Carrillo

Age: 33

Title: Chief Legal Counsel

Name of Organization: Illinois Department of Labor

Yolanda Carrillo is an employment attorney focusing on labor and employment law with an emphasis on litigation and government compliance.

Yolanda Carrillo currently serves as the chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor which is responsible for the administration and enforcement of 25 labor and safety laws. She serves as the attorney for the agency, providing her expertise to the director on legal matters and advising on areas of enforcement and policy.


Prior to this position, Carrillo focused on providing direct legal representation to workers and managed a statewide farmworker project. She focused her work on increasing access to legal services for agricultural workers in Illinois involving employment as well as housing, public benefits and immigration issues. She also served as the legal director of an organization seeking to advance the rights of low-wage workers through litigation and advocacy. She assisted workers in recouping lost wages and worked on legislative efforts at the state and local level.


She currently serves as a board member of a nonprofit she co-founded, Neighbors for Environmental Justice, which seeks to health and environmental issues on the Southwest Side of Chicago. She is also a cohort member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program – Culture of Health Leaders, a leadership development program meant to assist its leaders in advancing health and equity.


Carrillo was born and raised on the Southeast Side of Chicago to parents of Mexican descent. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College and her Juris Doctor degree from the DePaul University College of Law.


“Work hard, do not let fear or self-doubt stop you from taking on a new challenge, do not be afraid to admit you were wrong and always remember to recognize the work and input of others.”