Filing A Sexual Harassment Complaint With The Illinois Department Of Human Rights
I get questions all the time on whether to file a complaint for sexual harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). I believe there are great advantages in filing with the IDHR for certain cases and advantages for filing with the EEOC on others. First, in cases that large verdicts or settlements are unlikely due to the facts of the case, I file with the IDHR. The reason is the IDHR does a faster and more thorough job of investigating cases and bringing the case to the point where it will either settle or get set for a hearing with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
The EEOC on the other hand does a poor job of investigating charges of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination and in my experience it takes years for them to work the file. The advantage of filing with the EEOC is if you plan on asking for a right to sue letter and filing a lawsuit in federal court. I would only do this with the cases with the best facts. As an aside when you file with the IDHR they automatically cross-file with the EEOC. The bottom line is each case has to be evaluated on its' own merits and a determination made based on the facts of the case.