Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
What is FOIA?
FOIA is the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/2(c), "public records" means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information and all other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed or under the control of any public body. Records that are not subject to release via the FOIA process include confidential and trade secret information.
How Do I Submit a FOIA Request?
FOIA requests must be submitted in writing. Written requests can be submitted in three ways:
Fax to (312) 814-1436, to the attention of the FOIA Officer of the Illinois Department of Human Rights
Illinois Department of Human Rights
ATTN: FOIA OFFICER
555 West Monroe Street, 7th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60661
Write to the IDHR FOIA Contact email address, with the information outlined below.
The FOIA request should include a clear description of the public record requested. If a request is unclear, IDHR may need to contact you to further clarify the request.
For parties to IDHR investigations:
Are you looking to review an IDHR investigation file?
What Happens After the FOIA Request is Submitted?
All requests are processed in the order in which they are received. The IDHR will respond within five (5) working days of receipt of the request. An extension of five (5) working days is allowed with written notification to the requester.
How Do I Appeal the Denial of a FOIA Request?
If a request is denied, the requester may request review within 60 days of denial of a request with the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor. A requester also has the right to file suit for injunctive or declaratory relief in the Circuit Court for Sangamon County or for the county in which the requester resides, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11 of FOIA.
Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/6 of the FOIA, agencies "...may charge fees that are reasonably calculated to reimburse its actual cost for reproducing and certifying public records...". The IDHR determined that $.15 per page is reasonable.
Fees may be waived or reduced under certain circumstances. In general, pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/6(b) of the FOIA, the waiver or reduction of fees will be granted when it is determined to be in the public interest to do so.
If the requested records are 50 pages, or less, the records will be copied and mailed to the requestor at no cost.
If the records requested exceed 50 pages, the IDHR will notify the requestor that a copy fee will be incurred by the requestor at a rate of $.15 cents per page. The requestor will be informed of the dollar amount of the fee. The requestor will be asked to provide a money order, cashier's check or certified check for that dollar amount.
If a fee is required, the IDHR will not release the information to the requester until the fee is paid in full.
The website information concerning these IDHR FOIA procedures is being provided as required by 5 ILCS 140/4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).