• (800) 877 8078

Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

Department of Human Rights
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2021 FY 2020
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
Charge Processing $ 9,137.5 90.0 $ 9,787.4 107.0
Compliance $ 1,726.0 17.0 $ 919.0 11.0
Training Institute $ 507.6 5.0 $ 69.0 0.0
Non-Reporting Programs
Administration  $ 1,929.0 19.0 $ 1,378.5 10.0
Totals $ 13,300.1 131.0 $ 12,153.9 128.0

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

The mission of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) is to secure for all individuals within the State of Illinois freedom from unlawful discrimination, and to establish and promote equal opportunity and affirmative action as the policy of this state for all its residents. Since 1979, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has been charged with enforcing the Illinois Human Rights Act (Act), one of the nation’s most comprehensive civil rights laws. The Act protects and guarantees the rights of all Illinoisans by mandating that IDHR investigate charges of unlawful discrimination with regard to employment, financial credit, public accommodations, real estate transactions (including housing) and sexual harassment in education. Complainants can bring charges on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), pregnancy, sexual orientation (including gender identity), national origin, ancestry, age (40 and over), marital status, order of protection status, physical or mental disability, military status or unfavorable military discharge, citizenship status (regarding employment) and familial status (regarding real estate transactions). IDHR also investigates charges of retaliation, aiding and abetting, coercion and interference under the Act, and intimidation (in real estate transactions).

I. THE CHARGE PROCESSING PROGRAM

The FAIR HOUSING DIVISION investigates charges of unlawful discrimination in real-estate transactions to determine whether there is substantial evidence of discrimination.  Once a charge is docketed, an investigator conducts an investigation of the charge and discusses the possibility of a voluntary settlement with the parties. In many cases, the investigator performs an on-site investigation to interview witnesses and obtain pertinent documentation. The Human Rights Act requires that charges involving real estate transactions be completed within 100 days of filing (unless it is impracticable to do so). Upon completion of an investigation, parties receive a Notice of Determination as to whether substantial evidence or lack of substantial evidence exist and a Final Investigative Report.

The CHARGE PROCESSING DIVISION investigates charges of unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodations, financial credit and sexual harassment in education to determine whether there is substantial evidence of discrimination. Once a charge is docketed, an investigator conducts an investigation of the charge and discusses the possibility of a voluntary settlement with the parties. The investigator interviews witnesses, obtains pertinent documentation, and conducts a fact-finding conference. The Human Rights Act requires that charges be completed within 365 days of filing. Upon completion of an investigation, parties receive a Notice of Determination as to whether substantial evidence or lack of substantial evidence exist and an Investigative Report.

The MEDIATION UNIT offers parties the opportunity to negotiate a settlement of the charges rather than go through a full, time-consuming investigation.  Mediation is voluntary and free of cost to the parties. IDHR Human Rights Mediators meet with parties in a confidential, nonconfrontational atmosphere to discuss settlement options. The mediator helps facilitate communication between the parties as they explore terms of settlement to resolve the charge and eliminate the need for an investigation. Mediation does not affect the investigation if there is no settlement. If the parties fail to reach a resolution, the case is investigated.

II. THE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM 

The LEGAL DIVISION assigns staff attorneys to provide legal support for the investigatory work of the Fair Housing and Employment Litigation Units.  The attorneys provide technical assistance to investigator work groups as necessary, perform legal research, provide technical assistance to the public, review substantial evidence determinations, conciliate cases, draft and file complaints with the Human Rights Commission (“Commission”) and respond to Requests for Review (appeals of IDHR Determinations) filed with the Commission.  Staff attorneys assigned to the Fair Housing Unit are responsible for the additional duty of litigating fair housing cases before the Commission.  The Legal Division also oversees agency rulemaking; agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act; the agency’s ethics program; and responds to subpoenas issued to the agency by parties before the Commission, Illinois Circuit Court, and Federal District Court.

The PUBLIC CONTRACTS UNIT (“PCU”) enforces the provisions of the Act and the IDHR Rules and Regulations that require public contractors and eligible bidders to refrain from unlawful discrimination, undertake affirmative action in employment and develop a written sexual harassment policy. The PCU registers entities seeking to establish eligibility status for competitively bidding on state contracts. The PCU provides technical assistance and training on how to develop equal opportunity policies and procedures. Additionally, the PCU reviews entities’ affirmative action plans to ensure compliance with established equal opportunity laws and guidelines and conducts audits to examine policies, procedures, and efforts expended by the contractor toward meeting its EEO/AA obligations.

THE STATE AGENCY LIAISON UNIT (“Liaison Unit”) administers and enforces the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action provisions of the Act and Department Rules and Regulations.  The Liaison Unit ensures compliance by state executive departments, state agencies, boards, commissions, and instrumentalities (collectively, “state entities”).  All state entities are required to submit affirmative action plans, quarterly reports, and layoff reports to the Department. The Liaison Unit reviews the reports for conformance with the Act and Department Rules and Regulations. Additionally, the Liaison Unit monitors each state entity to ensure compliance with goals established in the state entity’s affirmative action plan and provides ongoing technical assistance and training to Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action (“EEO/AA”) Officers of state entities on the requirements of the Act and Department Rules and Regulations.

III. THE TRAINING PROGRAM

The INSTITUTE FOR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT (“Training Institute”) develops and delivers training modules to public and private organizations and companies throughout Illinois to promote awareness and compliance with the Illinois Human Rights Act. Training courses are designed to increase respect among diverse cultures in the workplace and provide accurate and timely information on federal and state laws regarding fair employment practices; ways to resolve conflict; and requirements for non-discrimination in employment, real-estate transactions, public accommodations, and sexual harassment in education. The Training Institute also offers customized training upon request, operates a speaker’s bureau, and supports the agency’s outreach initiatives.

Looking for more information?

© 2022 Illinois Comptroller's Office All rights reserved