You can report workplace discrimination in 4 different places:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (United States)
- Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) (Illinois)
- Cook County Commission on Human Rights (CCCHR) (Cook County)
- Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) (Chicago)
Each agency protects different classes of people. They also have different rules about time limits and which employers you can file against.
The EEOC enforces federal discrimination laws, and they help settle disputes between employers and employees. You have 300 days from the last incident to file a charge with the EEOC. You must file your claim with the EEOC if:
- Your company is part of the federal government; or
- You are filing a federal discrimination claim and your employer has more than 15 employees.
The IDHR deals with discrimination anywhere in Illinois. You have 180 days from the last incident to file with the IDHR.
The employer charged with discrimination must have at least 15 employees, unless:
- The charge alleges sexual harassment, pregnancy, retaliation or physical or mental disability discrimination. Only one employee is needed for these cases.
- The employer is a public contractor. A public contractor is an employer who does business with the State of Illinois or a unit of local government.
- The employer is a part of State government.
The CCCHR handles claims against employers in Cook County. You have 180 days from the last incident to file a claim with the CCCHR. Your employer must have at least 1 employee.
The CCHR handles claims against employers in Chicago. You have 180 days from the last incident to file a claim with the CCHR. Your employer must have at least 1 employee.
What if I can file in multiple places?
Filing a complaint with the EEOC or IDHR will allow you to go through the process at either agency. Filing a complaint with the CCHR or CCCHR does not stop the statute of limitation for filing with the EEOC or IDHR.
If you feel comfortable, you can go to court alone. But it is best to talk to a lawyer. Legal aid programs may be able to help, if you cannot afford a lawyer. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights may refer you to a lawyer who can help for free. The Lawyers’ Committee can be reached at (312) 630-9744.
Updated: October 2017