How to File an EEOC Complaint in Illinois

The EEOC supports equal rights in a diverse workplace.
The EEOC supports equal rights in a diverse workplace. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, was created to ensure that private and government employers comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace because of race, skin color, religious belief, gender or birthplace. The EEOC also investigates claims of discrimination based on age, disability and genetic makeup. Contact the Chicago District Office to file a complaint against an Illinois employer. The first step of the process is a screening that assesses whether the EEOC is the right agency to help you.

Call 800-669-4000 or stop by 500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000, in Chicago to schedule an interview with an EEOC representative. The staff uses the interview to determine whether your situation is covered under the laws the EEOC upholds. Ask for a telephone interview if you can't get to the Chicago office; you can also ask for an interpreter if necessary. In Illinois, you have 300 days from the day of the discriminatory event to file charges with the EEOC.

Go to the EEOC website to complete an online questionnaire as an alternative to the interview. The answers you provide about your employment situation help the system decide whether the EEOC is the best agency to assist you. You need to provide the employer’s and your name, address and telephone number. Include a description of the discriminatory event and the date when it happened. If applicable, also give the EEOC the contact information of witnesses and information on other agencies you've filed the same complaint with. If the online tool determines you should file a charge against the employer, print the completed questionnaire. Mail it to 500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60661, or take it to the office in person. An EEOC representative contacts you with information on how to proceed.

Follow the instruction the EEOC staff gives you for filing the complaint. The EEOC in Chicago usually first responds by sending you and the employer to mediation. If either party refuses the intervention, the EEOC investigates the charges to determine whether you're a victim of job discrimination. If the EEOC finds that discrimination occurred, it tries to get a settlement from the employer for you. If the attempt is unsuccessful, the office sends you a letter giving you the right to sue the employer in court for damages. In rare situations, the EEOC itself files a lawsuit on your behalf.

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