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Charge Process 


Findings and Results

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 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,

  2. commencing a civil action (within the time period specified in the Act) in a state circuit court of appropriate venue.

In housing cases, or 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 IDHR will file a Complaint of Civil Rights Violation with the Commission on behalf of Complainant.  Complainant bears the burden of proving the case before the Commission.

If IDHR finds a "lack of substantial evidence" of discrimination, it will dismiss the charge.  Within the timeframe specified in the Act, Complainant has the option of either

  1. filing a Request for Review for Review with the Commission*,

  2. commencing a civil action in a state circuit court of appropriate venue.  (In housing cases, only option #1 applies.)

In addition, within the time frame specified in the Act, Respondent may file a Request for Review with the Commission* if a "Notice of Default" is issued by the Department.  Final orders of the Commission may be appealed to the appropriate appellate court.

Expiration of Timeline:

If the Department does not issue findings as to Complainant’s charge within 365 days after the date dismisses Complainant’s charge of discrimination (or at least one allegation in Complainant’s charge), the Complainant has 90 days to file a complaint in State circuit court or to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Additional Information on the processing of charges is available through the following links:


Case Status


For information about the status of a pending charge, contact

Case Status Inquiry:  E-mail or call (312) 814-4294

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Complaint Process


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