A question my Chicago office gets often is about the length of time it takes for a sexual harassment case. Most people don’t realize how long discrimination cases can take from start to finish. If a case is filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) it will take roughly a year from the IDHR to finish its’ investigation and issue a finding of either substantial evidence or lack thereof. If there is a finding of substantial evidence you can then file with the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC“) for trial in front of an administrative law judge. If there is a lack of substantial evidence you can file a lawsuit in the local circuit court and ask for a jury trial or have your case hear by a judge.
So how long does it take at the IHRC or in court? It can take another year or longer to get to trial. And after trial at the IHRC the judge can take a few years to issue the decision. What this means is that from the time you first file until you get a ruling from the judge three or four years could pass. This is a reason why it is important for you to try and settle cases when you have a chance to.