Filing sexual harassment claims in Illinois
Victims of sexual harassment in Illinois can vindicate their right to be free from sexual harassment under Illinois law by filing a charge or claim with the Illinois Department Human Rights, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or by filing suit in court. Illinois sexual harassment victims can also pursue claims under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964
Filing a Charge or Claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
Sexual Harassment claims are brought in Illinois by filing a charge or claim under the Illinois Human Rights Act. A sexual harassment charge under the Illinois Human Rights Act is filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").
Upon receiving a charge of sexual harassment, the Illinois Department of Human Rights conducts a client interview and a fact-finding conference and makes a determination as to whether the charge or claim should proceed to be heard before the Human Rights Commission ("HRC"). A sexual harassment claim can also be filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
Filing a Sexual Harassment Suit in Illinois State Court
As of January 1, 2008, an Illinois sexual harassment victim can file a claim of sexual harassment in state court after first filing with the IDHR. The procedure is as follows:
- If the Director of the IDHR files a dismissal order based on a "lack of substantial evidence," the victim, referred to as the "complainant" by this law, may either seek review of the dismissal order with the IDHR or file a civil action in circuit court.
- If the complainant decides to seek review with the IDHR, he or she must file a request within 30 days of the receipt of the IDHR Director's notice of dismissal. Upon seeking review with the IDHR, the complainant is barred from later filing a civil action.
- If the complainant chooses to file a civil action, he or she must file it within 90 days of the receipt of the IDHR's Director's notice of dismissal.
- If the Director of the IDHR finds substantial evidence of a violation, the complainant has the right to file a civil action in circuit court or request that the IHRC file a complaint with the IDHR. The complainant must file suit in an appropriate circuit court within 90 days after receipt of the Director's notice.
- If the IHRC does not issue a determination of whether it found substantial evidence of a civil rights violation within 365 days after the charge is filed, the complainant has 90 days to either file a complaint with the IDHR or commence a civil action in circuit court.
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