1. File within 300 days of the first act of discrimination
If you think that you have experienced employment discrimination in hiring, promotions, or firing, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You must file an official charge with the EEOC within 300 days of the first act of discrimination.
You can also file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) or a local agency. Learn more about reporting workplace discrimination.
You must first contact an EEOC counselor before you file a charge. Go to the EEOC website to find your nearest field office.
2. File a complaint with the EEOC
The Complaint must include:
- A detailed description identifying the discrimination act
- Information on the person who discriminated against you
- Your telephone number and address
- Your signature
3. You may be asked if you want to participate in either counseling or alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
4. The EEOC will accept the complaint and send you a confirmation
5. The EEOC will conduct an investigation
The EEOC will conduct a neutral investigation of the allegations in the complaint. After the investigation, if the EEOC is not able to determine that the law was violated, it will send you a Notice of Right to Sue that gives you permission to file a lawsuit in court. If you wish to file a lawsuit, you must do so within 90 days of receiving the Notice.
If the EEOC determines the law may have been violated, it will try to reach a voluntary settlement with your employer. If it cannot do so, the Investigator will refer the case to the EEOC's legal staff, who will decide whether the agency should file a lawsuit. If EEOC decides not to file a lawsuit on your behalf, you will receive a Notice of Right to Sue that you have the right to file a lawsuit yourself. If you wish to file a lawsuit, you must do so within 90 days of receiving the Notice.
6. If you chose to request a hearing, you will be given a hearing
Before the hearing, you and your employer will be given an opportunity to view documents and other important information that each other has to prepare for the hearing.
During the hearing, the EEOC will hear the facts and evidence from you and your employer. After both sides are fully heard, the EEOC will provide a final decision about the discrimination.