Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
In Illinois along with filing a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") you may also file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC is basically the federal version of the IDHR and they pursue cases of discrimination brought under Title II whereas the IDHR will pursue cases brought under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act"). If you file a charge with the IDHR and ask, the IDHR will cross-file the charge with the EEOC so you get two for one. And the IDHR will do a better job of investigation than the other agency. You should also keep in mind that the investigators have very large workloads and this is where an experienced lawyer can help present your evidence in the best light.
Additionally, in a sexual harassment case, you only have 180 days from the last date of harassment to file with the IDHR. However you have 300 days to file a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC. So you can see there are advantages and reasons for filing with the EEOC. Many times a client will come to my office and will have missed the 180 day filing deadline and we will have no choice but to file directly with the EEOC. When this happens I can try and move the investigator along in a faster trajectory however there are never any guarantees.
It has been my experience that the EEOC doesn't investigate as quickly as the IDHR, so I prefer to file with the IDHR. However in some circumstances you must file with the EEOC and it is nice to have that option. Additionally, if you file with the EEOC, you can at any time ask for a right to sue letter and within 90 days of getting the letter you can file a lawsuit in federal court. It is important to note that federal courts are much harder on employees in employment related cases. Because of this state court or taking your employment case to the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") may be the right choice.
No matter which way you decide to go, it is very smart to hire an experienced employment lawyer. I never charge to discuss your case and only get paid if you do. Please contact my office by email or phone to discuss your employment related case. Remember, there are strict time limits involved in filing an employment related claim. Don't let employees at companies get away with treating you like dirt. You have rights as an employee at a company based in Illinois. I am here to protect your workplace rights.
Protect yourself and pick up the telephone.