The City Council recently approved two important changes to the Chicago Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances to provide more protection from discrimination and assist victims.
The first change expands the protection against retaliation. Previously, the anti-retaliation provisions only protected individuals who filed a complaint with CCHR or who participated in a CCHR investigation. This is much narrower than the anti-retaliation protections under federal and state law, which protect individuals who oppose or complain of discrimination, regardless of whether they first filed a complaint with an agency like the CCHR. Now, for example, if a worker complains to a supervisor about being sexually harassed, and is later fired, that worker may file a retaliation complaint with the CCHR.
The second change to the ordinances extends the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the CCHR from 180 days to 300 days. Many potential complainants have had difficulty meeting the previous time limits, particularly those without attorneys. In addition, many complainants are confused as to the statute of limitations for claims under the city ordinances as opposed to federal and state law which are both 300 days. The consistency with other laws will make it easier for victims of discrimination to consider their options and make the necessary preparations to pursue a complaint.
These changes are effective for claims that occurred on or after January 23, 2019.
The City of Chicago’s most recent Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI), a report the city submits to HUD every five years, included a community-based recommendation to implement fair housing testing for Housing Choice Voucher (commonly referred to as Section 8) discrimination, in conjunction with an education program to inform landlords, real estate management professionals, and realtors about fair housing laws. In furtherance of this recommendation, the CCHR retained Chicago Lawyers’ Committee and its Housing Opportunity Project team to conduct the testing and training project, which took place in 2017 and 2018.
The attached report discusses this important work conducted by the Lawyers’ Committee in collaboration with the CCHR. We urge you to read the report and share it with others. Our hope is that it will serve as a catalyst for change, and a vehicle for promoting and supporting fair housing for all Chicagoans. Thank you.
October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. Employers are encouraged to foster an inclusive workplace culture through hiring individuals with disabilities, training employees on disability awareness, as well as developing a process to provide reasonable accommodations.
For more information, check out our handout on Reasonable Accommodations in Employment
The Commission accepts filing of complaints and other documents by e-mail. For more information, click the following link.
Simply click on the following link and select Discrimination/Hate Crimes Assistance under the Service Type drop-box menu: