Employment discrimination claims involve the mistreatment of a person due to their membership in what is called a “protected category.” These categories include a person’s race, nationality, sex, political background, age, and others.  In addition, it is generally illegal to treat one group preferentially at the expense of other groups, when the treatment revolves around these categories.

How Do I File an Employment Discrimination Claim in Illinois?

Employment discrimination claims are specifically processed through the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). You would need to file your claim within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You will need to include your basic contact information, as well as some background information describing the nature of your claim.

After receiving your claim, the IDHR will conduct an investigation into your claim. This may include several steps, including fact-finding, mediation (optional), and the final finding or results. In Illinois, filing an employment discrimination claim is called “filing a charge”.

The IDHR may then decide whether there is enough “substantial evidence” to prove your claim. If so, they will then forward your case to an administrative law judge, who will hear your case further.

What If the IDHR Can’t Resolve My Complaint?

In some cases, the IDHR is open to an appeal or review of a previous charge. This known as the “Legal Review” stage and must be specifically requested after a discharge. The person filing usually has only 30 days to file for legal review.

In other instances, it may be necessary to file a private civil lawsuit if the IDHR is unable to resolve the dispute for whatever reason. This can involve further investigation and examination of employment laws, although some of the findings from the IDHR will likely be used in the lawsuit. Remedies may include a damages award or other remedies such as reinstatement to a previous position after being terminated.

Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?

Filing an employment discrimination charge in Illinois requires very specific filing steps. You may need to hire an Illinois discrimination lawyers in your area if you need help with any discrimination issues. Your attorney can advise you of how to proceed, and can represent you so that you obtain a corresponding legal remedy for your case.