About the Commission
Pursuant to Article 8 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Human Rights Commission consists of seven Commissioners, including a Chair, who are all appointed by the Governor, and a staff which includes an Executive Director who is appointed by the Governor, a General Counsel, a Deputy General Counsel, Assistant General Counsels, a Chief Administrative Law Judge, Administrative Law Judges, and Operational Support Staff.
No more than four Commissioners from the same political party may sit on the Commission. The Commissioners represent the diversity of the State of Illinois in all of its facets and must meet one of the following qualifications: (1) licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois; (2) have at least three years of experience as a hearing officer at the Human Rights Commission; or (3) have at least four years of professional experience working for or dealing with individuals or corporations affected by the Act or similar laws in other jurisdictions.
Our mission at the Commission is to provide a neutral forum for resolving complaints of discrimination filed under the Act. We are also responsible for, and obligated to, furnishing information to the public about the Act and the Commission. To fulfill our mission, we strive to provide professional, competent, and considerate service to everyone who seeks information from us or who has a case before the Commission.
Photo of the original members of the Human Rights Commission.
On December 6, 1979, then Governor James R. Thompson signed into law the Illinois Human Rights Act. The Act was enacted under the State's police power to prevent unlawful discrimination in the areas of employment, real estate transactions, access to financial credit, and public accommodations. The new Act replaced a number of separate agencies and amended or repealed other legislation dealing with civil rights within Illinois. As well as codifying and centralizing the procedures, the Act established new agencies to enforce the law and created a bifurcated system of enforcement and administration.
The Department of Human Rights was created to investigate and conciliate charges that are filed by complainants with the agency, to prepare and file complaints with the Human Rights Commission, and to seek temporary relief and enforcement of Commission orders and decisions. The Commission performs adjudicatory functions. Among its duties, the Commission renders decisions involving claims of discrimination, approves settlements, and reviews dismissals of charges.