Filing a sexual harassment discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) can be a daunting process. You will also be better off using the assistance of a qualified attorney. Here’s a general outline of the process:
- Contact the IDHR: The first step is to contact the IDHR and let them know that you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment. There are several ways you can do this, including through the phone, mail, their website, or in person at one of their offices.
- Provide information: You’ll then provide IDHR information about the sexual harassment you experienced. This will include the dates it occurred, the names of any one involved (such as other co-workers), and any witnesses. You’ll also provide basic contact information about yourself and the harasser (also known as the “respondent”).
- File the complaint: Once you have provided them the necessary information, you will need to formally file your complaint with the IDHR. This can be done online or by mail.
- Investigation: The IDHR will then investigate your complaint to determine whether there is substantial evidence of sexual harassment. Substantial evidence in this context has a special legal significance. Basically, IDHR will first have to determine that it is likely that a civil rights violation occurred before moving on to a hearing. This will likely involve interviewing you, the harasser, and any other witness, as well as collecting any relevant documents like text messages and emails. This is why it is important for you to keep all documents and keep a log of the harassment.
- Referral: If the IDHR determines that there is substantial evidence that sexual harassment occurred, you will then be allowed to file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. This is when the real litigation begins. The Commission will appoint an administrative law judge that will hold a hearing to resolve your claim.
Settling a Sexual Harassment Claim in Illinois
Throughout the entire process IDHR will try to have the parties settle the case. Settlement is a good thing as it resolves the issue without the need for drawn-out litigation. Filing a sexual harassment complaint can be a difficult and emotional process, but it is an important step in standing up for your rights and ensuring that you are treated with respect and dignity in the workplace.
Contact our Chicago sexual harassment law firm if you’re a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.