After the investigation, a written report is prepared recommending whether or not there is “substantial evidence” of a violation of the Act. A finding of “substantial evidence” means that there is enough evidence for the Complainant to take the case either before an administrative law judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("Commission") (an agency that conducts hearings on complaints filed by IDHR on behalf of Complainant or by Complainant) or an appropriate state circuit court. That forum (either the Commission or the circuit court) will hear testimony, receive evidence and determine whether unlawful discrimination occurred.
If substantial evidence is found, Complainant has the option of either 1) requesting (within the time period specified in the Act) IDHR to file a complaint, on Complainant’s behalf, with the Commission, OR, 2) commencing a civil action (within the time period specified in the Act) in a state circuit court of appropriate venue.
If Complainant requests IDHR to file a complaint with the Commission, an IDHR attorney will be assigned to help the parties resolve or “conciliate” the charge. If a settlement agreement is not reached, the Department will file a Complaint of Civil Rights Violation with the Commission on behalf of Complainant. The Complainant bears the burden of proving the case before the Commission.
If IDHR finds a “lack of substantial evidence” of the time period specified in the Act, Complainant has the option of either 1) filing a Request for Review with the Commission, OR, 2) commencing a civil action in a state circuit court of appropriate venue.
If Respondent has failed to file a timely verified response to the charge, or has failed to attend the fact-finding conference, a Notice of Default may be entered. Within the time period specified in the Act, Respondent may file a Request for Review with the Commission. Final orders of the Commission may be appealed to the appropriate appellate court.