Sexual Harassment in Illinois: The Current Law
Sexual Harassment in Illinois is brought by filing a charge or claim under the Human Rights Act. The charge or claim is brought by filing with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in either Chicago or Springfield. The Illinois Department of Human Rights then conducts a client interview, 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 brought before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). You may also bring a claim before both the EEOC and HRC.
As of January 1, 2008, a new law was enacted allowing for also filing a claim of sexual harassment in state court after first filing with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. A video of the new changes can be viewed at lasorsalaw.com
New Law after Changes
As of January 1, 2008, complainants will have the added option of pursuing a civil action in the circuit court in the county where the alleged violation occurred, rather than proceeding before the IDHR. The key components of the new law are:1. If the Director of the IDHR files a dismissal order based on a lack of substantial evidence determination of a violation, the complainant will have the right to 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, a request must be filed within 30 days after receipt of the IDHR Director's notice of dismissal and the complainant is barred from later filing a civil action.b. if the complainant decides to file a civil action, it must be filed within 90 days after the receipt of the IDHR's Director's notice of dismissal.2. If substantial evidence of a violation is determined by the IDHR Director, the complainant has the right to file a civil action in circuit court or request that the IHRC file a complaint with the IDHR.a.
Any circuit court complaint must be filed within 90 days after receipt of the Director's notice.3. If the IHRC doesn't issue a determination of whether there is 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.