The mission of the Cook County Commission on Human Rights is two-fold:
(1) To protect people who live or work in Cook County from discrimination and harassment in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit transactions, and access to Cook County facilities, services and programs and
(2) To ensure that those who work in, or for the benefit of, Cook County are paid an appropriate wage for their labors and receive appropriate benefits.
The Commission pursues these objectives through enforcement of four County ordinances:
This ordinance prohibits people in Cook County (including employers, landlords, property managers, real estate agents, store and restaurant owners, bankers, lenders and Cook County government officials and employees) from unlawfully discriminating against or harassing other people on the basis of that person's race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, source of income (including use of a Housing Choice Voucher), housing status, gender identity, or criminal history.
This ordinance requires that all employees who contract with Cook County government to provide labor or who operate on property in Cook County that receives a Class 6B, Class 8 or Class 9 property tax incentive pay their employees not less than a living wage as determined annually by Cook County's Chief Financial Officer. As of 2021, the living wage is $12.74/hr. with employer-provided healthcare benefits and $15.93/hr without.
This ordinance requires that all employers with employees in Cook County pay those employees not less than a minimum wage as determined annually by law. Beginning July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Cook County is $13/hr., and the base wage for tipped employees is $6.60/hr.
This ordinance requires that all employers with employees in Cook County provide those employees with paid time off to recover from illness or injury, obtain medical care or care for a sick family member. Beginning July 1, 2017, employees in Cook County can earn at least one day off for every 320 hours worked.
The Commission on Human Rights enforces each of these ordinances through a variety of means, including rulemaking, investigating complaints by members of the public, and mediating those disputes when possible or conducting hearings to award compensatory damages, injunctions and other relief when necessary.
Human Rights Commissioners
The Cook County Commission on Human Rights is an eleven member board appointed by the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, subject to the advice and consent of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Human Rights Commissioners must be residents of Cook County, and may not be employed by Cook County government during their term. Human Rights Commissioners serve a renewable three-year term without financial compensation.
Appointees to the Cook County Commission of Human Rights have a strong commitment to, and involvement in, issues related to civil rights and/or fair compensation for labor. They are committed to making Cook County a better place to live and work.
- Karina Ayala-Bermejo
- Jack Block
- Angie Cowan Hamada
- Ceylan Eatherton
- Kenneth A. Gunn, Chairperson
- Charles E. Harris, II
- Gia Orr
- Hedy M. Ratner
- Amber Smock
- Sufyan Sohel
- Rev. Richard L. Tolliver
Meetings of the Commission
Regular Meetings of the Cook County Commission on Human Rights are held on the second Thursday of every other month (unless designated otherwise). The meetings are held at 10:00 a.m. at 69 W. Washington Street, Suite 3040, Chicago, IL 60602. Meetings of the Commission are open to the public and include time for members of the public to provide the Commission with written and/or oral comments. If you need any other assistance to attend, please contact the Commission at least 72 hours prior to the date of the scheduled meeting at 312.603.1100 (voice) or 312.603.1101 (TT/TDD).