Complaint Investigation and Adjudication
The Commission investigates, conciliates and, if warranted, holds hearings on complaints of employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit discrimination occurring within Cook County.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you may be able to file a complaint with the Cook County Commission on Human Rights. Visit, call, write or send in a Complaint Information Sheet in order to initiate the complaint filing process.
Before a complaint can be filed, you must fill out one of the attached Complaint Information sheets, according to the type of complaint you wish to file. The Complaint Information Sheet gives Commission Staff basic information about the complaint you wish to file. We must establish if we have the right to investigate your claim. If for any reason we believe we do not have the authority to investigate your claim, we will advise you of the reason.
After gathering some preliminary information, the Commission will help you prepare a written complaint. You may also prepare your own complaint or have an attorney prepare one for you. However, if you prepare your own complaint or your attorney prepares one for you, you must use the Commission’s Complaint Form below or a substantial equivalent.
The complaint must contain a statement of the facts alleged to constitute a violation of the ordinance, including the date and place where discriminating acts occurred and the basis of the discrimination. Your complaint must be signed, notarized and filed with Commission within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. There is no charge or fee for filing a complaint of discrimination.
Once you file a complaint with the Commission, the Commission notifies the alleged violator (respondent) about the complaint and requires the respondent to submit a response to the complaint. The complaint is then assigned to an investigator who conducts a neutral fact-finding investigation. At the end of the neutral fact-finding investigation, the Commission determines whether or not there is substantial evidence of discrimination.
Remedies and Relief for Discrimination
If, upon completion of the investigation, the Commission finds substantial evidence of discrimination, the Commission will convene a conciliation conference with the parties and a neutral mediator. The mediator will help the parties attempt to reach a mutually agreeable settlement of the complaint. If the complaint is not settled, the Commission will hold an administrative hearing with a hearing officer.
The Commission can order anyone who has been found to have discriminated to stop the discrimination; to pay actual damages for loss or injury suffered; to hire, reinstate or upgrade a complainant; to lease a house to a complainant; to extend to a complainant the full and equal enjoyment of services of facilities; and to pay all or part of a complainant’s costs (including attorneys fees). The Commission may also levy fines of $100.00 to $500.00 for each offense.
Examples of Discrimination
- Refusing to show or rent an apartment to a family because of their race or because they have children
- Refusing to let a visually impared person shop in a store or ride in a taxi because they have a seeing eye dog
- Denying a qualified person a job, a promotion or benefits because of their sex or sexual orientation