Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR)

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) is the city’s civil rights agency. We utilize administrative law and procedure to enforce the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance. These laws prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, and bonding. The list of protected classes includes race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Since last year, the city has enhanced protections against criminal history discrimination in employment, increased protections against sexual harassment, and added new bodily autonomy protections in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022).

CCHR also participates in the federal government’s Deferred Action Labor Enforcement program which allows immigrant workers to obtain temporary protection from deportation and work authorization if they are involved in a labor dispute. We also participate in the U & T VISA programs, which are part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, created to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute certain crimes against immigrants and to offer protection to victims who fear cooperating with law enforcement due to their immigration status.

CCHR’s Adjudication Unit investigates and adjudicates all discrimination complaints. It has a staff of five investigators, two compliance directors and a Deputy Commissioner. The management staff are all licensed attorneys. The PILI Fellow would be supervised by one of the Adjudication managers. Their duties would include assisting in updating the Subject Matter Index (an index of the Commission’s precedential decisions), drafting request for review orders, conducting legal research, and observing administrative hearings and settlement conferences.

The Fellow will also collaborate with CCHR’s Intergroup Relations and Outreach Unit (IGR), which responds to community tensions with mediators trained by the Center for Conflict Resolution, assists hate crime victims, and provides trainings and workshops designed to reduce tensions and fight bigotry. The Fellow would gain exposure to the workings of Chicago city government. They would also work with the Director of IGR and the CCHR Commissioner, both of whom are licensed attorneys and PILI alums.

This agency is approved to host a Graduate Fellow.