Articles Posted in Chicago Commission On Human Relations

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Chicago Commission On Human Relations and Sexual Harassment

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So you are working in downtown Chicago and you have been subjected to sexual harassment. You are unsure of what you should do next? Should you just tell human resources and then move on? Should you file a complaint with a government agency? One option you have is to file with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. This agency will investigate your sexual harassment complaint and if appropriate, award you damages. So what is an advantage of filing here?

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations can award damages in the form of punitive damages. This gives you an advantage over other venues. Of course, each case is different so an attorney who concentrates in employment law can give you a better idea of what to do. The most important thing to do is something. Don’t be passive and let the harassing employee get away with it. You have rights in the workplace. Take action and don’t be a victim.

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Why File A Sexual Harassment Claim At the Chicago Commission On Human Relations?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So my Chicago office gets calls asking where a person should file a sexual harassment complaint. There are many different venues for filing a complaint and each has its own benefit. One of the most overlooked venues for filing a complaint is the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). The CCHR is similar to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). However, at the CCHR a person can ask for punitive damages and this could be huge for the right case. If you file a complaint at the IDHR you cannot ask for punitive damages.

So a punitive damage case is one usually where there are not big damages for lost wages. But the circumstances are so bad that a reasonable person would be so outraged that they will award extra damages to make the company stop the behavior. So in cases where you only have a few thousand dollars of lost wages, but the boss is exposing himself to you, a punitive damage award may be appropriate. It is always best to contact an employment lawyer and discuss all of your options with him.

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Chicago Sexual Harassment Facts

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So there are some basic facts involving sexual harassment in Chicago. First, any act of sexual harassment in Chicago at work is covered by the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”). The Act allows an employee to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). There is no filing fee for filing with the IDHR and the investigation is conducted by the department for free. Also the IDHR is mandated by law to complete their investigation within one-year by law. This allows for a pretty quick investigation. Having a lawyer can ensure that the right information gets to the investigator and that will help you be successful.

Chicago is also unique in that you can file with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). This gives you two different agencies that basically do the same function. I prefer the IDHR because of the one-year time period but you do have options. There are very strict time limits for filing so make sure you check with an employment lawyer for those. The damages that you can get are far ranging. Everything from your job back, if you lost it, to back pay, front pay, attorney fees and money for emotional distress.

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Should You File Your Sexual Harassment Complaint With the Chicago Commission On Human Relations?

by Peter M. LaSorsa

The day seems to be going great for you but just like your other days at work the boss keeps sending you sexual messages and making comments to you. You are really tired of it and don’t want to take it any longer. What should you do? You know you can file a complaint based on sexual harassment but where should you file? You have three options in Chicago. You can file with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). You can also file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“).

So why should you file with the CCHR? The CCHR allows you to recover for punitive damages and the IDHR and EEOC do not. This could make filing with the CCHR the way to go. It will really depend on the facts of your case. If you have facts that would outrage a judge and would shock someone, perhaps the CCHR is the way to go. An experienced employment lawyer can explain the differences in all three and can direct you to the proper agency. Remember, there are strict time limits to filing with all three so don’t hesitate.

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What Damages Can You Be Awarded In A Sexual Harassment Case

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So my Chicago office gets calls all the time from people who want to know what damages they can recover if they file a sexual harassment case. Well part of the answer will depend on where the sexual harassment case is filed. If you are employed in Chicago you have three choices for filing. You can file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) or the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). So which agency should you file your case with? Well it will be fact specific but here are some generalizations. As an aside if you file with the IDHR, they automatically cross file with the EEOC so in essence you get a two for one.

Filing with the CCHR gives you something that you can’t get from either the IDHR or EEOC–punitive damages. Punitive damages are monies that are given to punish a company or person for the conduct. This type of damage is most suited where the conduct was so egregious that it would shock a normal reasonable person. So for example if the boss called you into his office and pulled out his penis, that would be such behavior. And if the company knew about it and did not take any action, this would raise the amount of money you may get. Otherwise, the IDHR and EEOC have similar forms of damage–except with the EEOC you can get statutory damages based on the number of employees. A good employment attorney can go through this information with you.

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Why File At The Chicago Commission On Human Relations

by Peter M. LaSorsa

So why should you file your sexual harassment complaint at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“)? Well the main reason to file with the CCHR is they can award punitive damages. If you file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“), they can’t award punitive damages. This could be an important point if your case doesn’t have a great deal of actual lost wage damage.

So for example if the boss is doing something very horrible like making you look at nasty porn and sending you nasty text messages but the result is not a loss of wages, your best bet may be to seek punitive damages. Additionally, many employment attorneys don’t practice in front of the CCHR and therefore they may wish to settle the case quickly and not have to learn as they go. Remember that each case is different and it is important to discuss your facts with an experienced employment lawyer.

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Chicago Options For Sexual Harassment Victims

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Well you have three options if you are the victim of sexual harassment in Chicago. First you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). Or you could file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). Lastly, you could file with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). I am going to discuss which of the three will give you the best opportunity to receive the maximum for your case. In order to do that I would of course need to know the facts of your case. So I will just give generalizations about what are the good and bad points of each.

Let’s start with the IDHR. The good thing about filing with the IDHR is they will automatically file with the EEOC. The only time the IDHR does not cross-file with the EEOC is if the discrimination falls under the Illinois Human Rights Act and not Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So filing with the IDHR gives you both and therefore it’s a great option. So given that why would you file with the CCHR. Well the CCHR gives you something that the other two don’t. With the CCHR you can ask for punitive damages. This is great in cases where there aren’t a large amount of actual damages or the sexual harassment is so horrible that a large award my be necessary to stop this type of conduct from occurring in the future. One thing to keep in mind is that the IDHR must complete its investigation within 365 days so for a quick resolution that may be the best route.

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Chicago Waitresses Subjected To Sexual Harassment

by Peter M. LaSorsa

There has been a growing trend in Chicago toward managers and owners subjecting waitresses and other bar and restaurant workers to sexual harassment. Part of the reason may be the type of work atmosphere where liquor and intoxicated people abound. Whatever the reason, engaging in sexual harassment is against the law and will subject the owner to liability under the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act“) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An employee who has been subjected to sexual harassment can file a complaint with either the Illniois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). I personally prefer to file with the IDHR because they cross-file with the EEOC and they are mandated by law to complete an investigation within one-year. One could also file a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). One big advantage to filing with the CCHR is they can award punitive damages.

So which venue does your sexual harassment case belong in? The short answer is let an experienced employment lawyer evaluate your case and decide for you. There generally isn’t a one size fits all strategy. For example if you have very low lost wage damages but the sexual harassment was very tramatizing and obscene perhaps going for punitive damages with the CCHR would be the proper venue. The important thing to remember is there are strict time limits that apply for filing a claim of discrmination. Dont’ be one of those people who procrastinate and ends up missing a deadline. The company will have legal advice and people working on their behalf, so should you.
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Peter LaSorsa Lectures At ISBA Seminar On LItigating Employment Issues

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Attorney Peter LaSorsa was one of five attorneys who lectured for the Illinois State Bar Association (“ISBA“) on litigating employment cases in Chicago. The focus of the full-day March 15, 2012 lecture was on the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) and included fact-patterns involving sexual harassment cases and retaliation. The lecture was attended by attorneys from around the state of Illinois. Attorney LaSorsa’s portion was dedicated to cases from a plaintiff or complainant’s perspective. Issues regarding discovery, settlement and selection of venue were discussed.

The lecture also covered taking sexual harassment and other types of discrimination cases to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“). There are many complicated factors that go into deciding where to file a case. With the CCHR you may be entitled to receive punitive damages among the other damages you can received if you file at the IDHR and follow that trajectory. The important issue is to consult with an experienced employment lawyer and ensure you get maximum benefit from your case.

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Filing At The Chicago Commission On Human Relations

by Peter M. LaSorsa

The good news for you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination in Chicago is you have multiple options. In Chicago you can file with three different agencies. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“), the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (“CCHR“) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). If you file with the IDHR, they will automatically cross-file with the EEOC. So in affect you get a two-for one in that regard.

Where you file will depend on the circumstances and facts of your case. It is very important to speak with an employment lawyer and learn what is best for your circumstance. Of course if you live outside chicago in say the southern or central part of the state you can only file with the IDHR or EEOC. Don’t wait too long because there are strict time limits that apply to discrimination cases. No matter where you file it is important that you keep track of what is taking place at work if you are still employed. Keep a log and save emails or other communications that may help your case.