Illinois Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Helpline

Call the State of Illinois Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Helpline at 877-236-7703* Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Helpline calls are answered by The Chicago Lighthouse Call Center pursuant to a contract with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Callers will learn their options for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination, can be transferred to or request a call-back from an agency, or can file an anonymous report. Callers are also offered assistance with finding necessary resources, including legal and counseling assistance. Information given to the call center is confidential and not subject to disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). *TTY users call the Helpline via 711.

You can report the instance of sexual harassment or discrimination and file a complaint with governmental entities.

Persons who have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination have several reporting options. Where a person can report will depend on where the harassment or discrimination occurred. In some instances, a victim can report an incident to multiple governmental entities. Governmental entities have differing jurisdictions and authorities to address sexual harassment and discrimination. Below is an overview of the Illinois governmental entities that can be contacted to report such incidents.

In the Private or Public Sector

  • Contact a Human Resources Department, Manager or Supervisor. Many employers and agencies have specific policies and processes in place to complain about and report sexual harassment and discriminatory treatment.
  • Contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). Reports (charges) of sexual harassment and discrimination can be made to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. IDHR has jurisdiction over complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and education. To learn more, read about IDHR in the section below.

Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”)
(To report sexual harassment and discrimination in public and private employment, housing, public accommodations and education)

The jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Human Rights extends to investigating claims of discrimination, including sexual harassment, with respect to employment, real estate transactions, financial credit, public accommodations and educational institutions. The Illinois Department of Human Rights has jurisdiction over private and public employers, vendors and others doing business with the State of Illinois, employment agencies, labor organizations, property owners and managers, real estate brokers or agents, landlords, financial institutions, businesses open to the public, and publicly or privately-operated schools, colleges or universities.

The Department of Human Rights is obligated to keep the contents of the Department’s investigation confidential during the investigation of the charge. Additionally, the Department may hold the identity of any witness as confidential upon the request of the party or witness. IDHR’s statutory authority is found in the Illinois Human Rights Act. 775 ILCS 5/1 et seq.

A discrimination charge can be initiated by calling, emailing, faxing, mailing or appearing in person at the IDHR’s Chicago or Springfield office within 300 days of the date the alleged discrimination took place (180 days for harms occurring before June 8, 2018). There is a one-year filing deadline for housing discrimination.

For more information or to file a complaint (charge) with the Illinois Department of Human Rights:

In the Public Sector Only (Government Offices)

In addition to contacting the Illinois Department of Human Rights, persons who experience sexual harassment and discrimination in the public sector can report the incident in one or more of the following ways. An investigation by IDHR is separate, apart and independent of any investigation conducted by an Ethics Officer, OEIG or the OLIG.

  • Contact the agency’s assigned Ethics Officer (EO). State of Illinois agencies of the Illinois Governor each have a designated Ethics Officer who is available to discuss any concerns about sexual harassment and discrimination. An EO can assist a State employee in making a report of sexual harassment. This is an internal process that is managed within the agency in which the incident occurred. To learn more, read about agency EOs in the section below.
  • Contact Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG). The OEIG is empowered to investigate instances of sexual harassment, discrimination and other misconduct that occurs in agencies under the Illinois Governor. This is an external process that is initiated outside of the agency where the incident occurred. To learn more, read about the OEIG in the section below.
  • Contact the Office of the Legislative Inspector General (OLIG). The OLIG is empowered to investigate instances of sexual harassment, discrimination and other misconduct that occurs in entities within the Illinois legislature. This is an external process that is conducted outside of the legislative entity where the incident occurred. To learn more, read about the OLIG in the section below.

Ethics Officers (“EO’s”) for Agencies of the Illinois Governor
(To report sexual harassment, discrimination or other misconduct by officers, employees, vendors and others doing business with executive branch state agencies)

The head of each State agency designates an Ethics Officer, who provides guidance to State employees in the interpretation and implementation of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. An Ethics Officer is available to discuss any concerns about ethics violations, including an allegation of sexual harassment or discrimination, and can assist a State employee in making a report of sexual harassment to the appropriate supervisor, member of management, or outside entity such as the OEIG or IDHR. In some agencies and in some circumstances, the Ethics Officer may be responsible for investigating the allegation.

An Ethics Officer should strive to keep confidential information that a State employee requests to remain confidential, and should share information only as required by law or in order to effect necessary action to address an allegation.

For more information, or to report sexual harassment or other ethics violations to an Ethics Officer assigned to a State of Illinois Agency of the Governor:

Office of the Executive Inspector General (“OEIG”)
(To report misconduct, including sexual harassment or discrimination, by officers, employees, vendors and others doing business with executive branch state agencies, boards and commissions under the Illinois Governor)

The jurisdiction of the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (“OEIG”) extends to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and all officers and employees of, and vendors and others doing business with, executive branch state agencies, except for those that fall under the jurisdiction of those executive inspector generals who have jurisdiction for state agencies under the attorney general, the secretary of state, the comptroller or the treasurer.

This jurisdiction encompasses, for example, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority. The OEIG's jurisdiction also includes approximately 300 state boards and commissions, including for example, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois State Police Merit Board. The OEIG's jurisdiction also extends to the nine state public universities, and the four regional transit boards (the Regional Transportation Authority, The Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace).

Certain complaints received by the OEIG may, as appropriate, require the involvement of other investigative or prosecutorial entities. Criminal matters, for example, may require the participation of, or referral to, other prosecuting or law enforcement authorities. In addition, the investigation of certain complaints may be referred to, or require the participation of, other inspector generals who serve specific public entities.

The OEIG is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of individuals reporting any possible or alleged misconduct. The OEIG’s statutory authority is found in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. 5 ILCS 430/1 et seq.

For more information or to file a complaint with the OEIG:

Office of the Legislative Inspector General (“OLIG”)
(To report misconduct, including sexual harassment, by members of the General Assembly and all state employees whose ultimate jurisdictional authority is a legislative leader, the Senate Operations Commission or the Joint Committee on Legislative Support Services, officials and employees of the Illinois legislature)

The Office of the Legislative Inspector General (“OLIG”) receives and investigates complaints of violations of any law, rule or regulation or abuse of authority or other forms of misconduct by members of the General Assembly and all state employees whose ultimate jurisdictional authority is a legislative leader, the Senate Operations Commission or the Joint Committee on Legislative Support Services.

The OLIG recognizes that the vast majority of state employees and officials are hardworking and honest individuals. However, when evidence of actual or apparent impropriety exists in state government, it must be effectively and objectively addressed either administratively or through the court system. The OLIG’s goal is to heighten the trust of the citizens of Illinois in the functions of their state government.

The Office of the Legislative Inspector General is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of individuals reporting any possible or alleged misconduct. The OLIG’s statutory authority is found in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. 5 ILCS 430/1 et seq.

For more information or to file a complaint with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General: