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Procedures For Non-Housing Charges


  1. IDHR: The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) is responsible for conducting a NEUTRAL and FAIR investigation of the charge allegations. IDHR represents the interests of the State of Illinois to eliminate discriminatory practices. Each party may obtain their own attorney to advocate or represent them.
  2. Parties: The charge is filed by the Complainant against the Respondent (employer, company, union, agency, etc.). Both Complainant and Respondent (“the parties”) have a responsibility to cooperate with IDHR. The parties must immediately notify IDHR of any change in address, telephone number or email address. If IDHR cannot reach Complainant(s) by telephone, by mail or by email, the case will be dismissed.

Case Process

  1. Charge Service:  After the Complainant files a signed and dated charge (“perfected”), IDHR assigns a charge number and serves the charge on the Respondent.
  2. Opt Out Option:  For a limited time after the perfected charge is served, the Complainant may choose to Opt Out of IDHR’s investigation, removing the case from IDHR’s case process to pursue the charge allegations in court.
  3. Mediation Option:  Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to meet and discuss how the issues raised in the charge can be resolved. A mediator facilitates the mediation conference, and there is no cost to either party. Explore more details about the mediation process, or request mediation by calling (312) 814-6738 or by emailing:
  4. Investigation:  Soon after assignment, the investigator contacts the parties to discuss the case in more detail. Find more details and terms about the investigation process in the table below. Read more about the Investigation process on IDHR's website for the investigation elements listed below.
    • Party Responses: The investigator reviews the responses of both parties to the charge and the questionnaires.
    • Settlement: The investigator will ask both parties to consider a voluntary settlement to resolve the matter.
    • Fact Finding Conference: Both parties are required to attend a fact finding conference, which is a meeting conducted by the investigator where the Complainant and representatives of the Respondent answer questions to determine if there was a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”).
    • Evidence: The investigator obtains pertinent documents from both parties, and contacts and interviews relevant witnesses. Both parties should answer the investigator’s questions and provide all relevant information.
    • Process Time: The Act requires that IDHR make a finding within 365 days of the date the perfected charge was filed, unless both parties sign an extension form to give IDHR more time to complete the investigation.  If IDHR does not make a finding by the 365th day (or within any extension) the Complainant may either 
  5. Investigation Report:  After completing the investigation, IDHR sends to the parties the investigation report that summarizes the information obtained and makes a recommended finding based upon the relevant evidence.

Post-Investigation Options

  1. Appeal Rights:  If IDHR dismisses the case, the Complainant has the option to either 
    • (a) file a Request for Review with the IHRC, or 
    • (b) commence a civil action in the appropriate state circuit court. The Respondent may file a request for review of a notice of default recommendation.
  2. Public Hearing:  If IDHR finds substantial evidence of discrimination, an IDHR attorney will help the parties resolve or “conciliate” the case. If conciliation is not successful, the Complainant has the option to either: 
    • (a) request IDHR to file a complaint with the IHRC on Complainant’s behalf, OR 
    • (b) commence a civil action in a state circuit court of appropriate venue. The Complainant bears the burden of proving the case at a public hearing.
  3. Filing In Federal Court:  Complainant also has the option to file in an appropriate federal court at the conclusion of IDHR’s investigation.  A charge with an A, E, F or L in the charge number is cross-filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and is assigned an EEOC charge number to protect the Complainant’s federal rights, however, IDHR will conduct the investigation on EEOC’s behalf. At any time, the Complainant may request a Right to Sue notice from the EEOC and file the complaint in federal court. 
    • Note: IDHR cannot give legal advice. If considering withdrawing to file in federal court, IDHR suggests consulting an attorney. Complainants have no right to proceed in federal court against state agency Respondents under the ADA or ADEA. IDHR will administratively dismiss the charge if a complaint is filed in federal court.

Important Reminders