Proceeding Before The Illinois Human Rights Commission
My Chicago office handles many types of discrimination cases. One question that I get asked often is what happens after I file a discrimination case with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR")? Does the IDHR try the case and give a verdict? The answer is no. The IDHR investigates the complaint and if there is substantial evidence allows you to file directly with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for trial. So in fact the IDHR acts as a gate keeper for the IHRC. This keeps the number of cases down so the IHRC doesn't get overwhelmed with cases.
Of course the down side is many times the investigators at the IDHR try to try the case and issue their own verdict so to speak. It is very important to hire someone experienced when taking a case to the IHRC because cases can be won and lost during discovery. Many sexual harassment cases that I file at the IHRC are settled because the other side doesn't want damaging or embarrassing details coming out about what really happened at the company. Additionally, many sexual harassment cases also include a claim for retaliation and companies don't want those details emerging either. It is in your best interest to proceed before the Illinois Human Rights Commission with caution and in my opinion with the help of an experienced employment lawyer.