Chicago EEOC and IDHR Attorney

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to enforce Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The EEOC is also responsible for enforcing other anti-discrimination laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Equal Pay Act (EPA).

When a person makes the decision to file a Federal lawsuit for discrimination or harassment, they must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate the charge by asking both the employee (the Complainant) and the employer being charged (the Respondent) for documents and information relevant to the charge. At the end of their investigation, the EEOC may do one of three things: close its file without completing the investigation, conclude that they were unable to establish a violation of the law, or conclude that there is substantial evidence of a violation, which is referred to as a “Cause Determination.”

If the EEOC closes its file without completing the investigation, or is unable to conclude that discrimination or sexual harassment took place, it will issue a Notice of Right to Sue. The Complainant then has 90 days to file his or her case with the Federal Court. However, once the 90 days have passed, the employee loses their opportunity to file within the Federal Court.

If the EEOC makes a “Cause Determination”, it will try to conciliate the case by achieving a settlement between both parties. They will also require that the employer take certain affirmative steps in order to prevent discrimination or sexual harassment from happening again in the future. If those efforts fail, the EEOC has the right to file its own case against the employer, allowing the employee to join their case with his or her own attorney. If the EEOC does not file its own case, they will issue a Notice of Right to Sue, again giving the employee 90 days to file within the Federal Court.

It is not often that the EEOC will make Cause Determinations, or file its own case. However, many of these cases are still filed within the Federal Court, making it a possibility that you may win a case within the Federal Court or reach a settlement, even if EEOC did not make a finding in your favor.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)

You may also file your discrimination claims under the Illinois Human Rights Act. In order to do so, you will have to file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). The IDHR serves the same function for the State of Illinois, as the EEOC does for the Federal Government.

There are, however, some important differences. If the IDHR investigation does not provide substantial evidence of a violation, and your charge was filed before January 1, 2008, you cannot take your claim to court. Rather, you may ask for a review from the Chief Legal Counsel’s Office at the IDHR, as well as you may also ask that the IDHR forward your case to the EEOC for review, then taking your case to Federal Court. If the IDHR does find in your favor, it will file a complaint for you with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is very much like a court with a judge who will hear your case. Due to hard-fought changes in the law, charges filed with the IDHR after January 1, 2008 may be brought to court, even if the IDHR finds against you. However, this does not change the fact that you will only have 180 days from the time of the discriminatory acts to file your complaint with the IDHR, meaning that if the act took place approximately before July 8, 2007, filing the charge after January 1, 2008 would be too late.

Be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is not a Federal Court, and both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights are not the same entities. They are both investigative authorities, but the courts and the Illinois Human Rights Commission are not judicial bodies.

At Maduff & Maduff, we are familiar with the procedures and processes of the EEOC and the IDHR, as well as the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Generally, we prefer to take our client into the EEOC or IDHR to make the initial charge. Since an employee is required to file with the EEOC before filing with the Federal Court, their case can be dismissed from the Federal Court if the Court determines that the Charge of Discrimination filed with the EEOC is not specific enough. It is also important to note that in the state of Illinois, you must file your charge with the EEOC within 300 days of the incident, and you have only 180 days to file with the IDHR.

If you have a discrimination claim, you must consult with a Chicago EEOC and IDHR Attorney immediately. Contact our attorneys today for help with your claim.

As your Chicago employment attorney, we represent clients in a variety of areas including Family & Medical LeaveSeverance Agreements and Sexual Harassment.