Title: Bureau Chief - Civil Rights
Division: Public Interest
Location: Chicago Office
The mission of the Civil Rights Bureau is to protect and advance the civil rights guarantees of all Illinois residents. The Civil Rights Bureau pursues this mission by enforcing the Illinois Human Rights Act, ensuring implementation of a wide-ranging consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department, collaborating with Attorney General offices from other states on civil rights issues and litigation, advising on and advocating for legislation, and engaging with community stakeholders and advocacy organizations committed to protecting civil rights.
The Bureau’s responsibilities under the Illinois Human Rights Act encompass a broad cross-section of civil rights issues, including advocating against discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment, and by financial institutions, and seeking to remedy and prevent sexual harassment. The Illinois Human Rights Act empowers the Bureau to target and remedy “patterns or practices” of discrimination in these areas. In addition to pursuing litigation, the Bureau has subpoena authority to conduct pre-litigation investigations. The Bureau’s investigations have led to multiple consent decrees effectuating compliance with the Illinois Human Rights Act that the Bureau is responsible for enforcing. These include consent decrees that require: operational reforms at an Illinois warehouse that had been the subject of allegations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination against temporary workers; oversight of a bus company that engaged in discrimination against its customers; and prohibitions on national origin discrimination by buffet-style restaurants and staffing agencies that serve them.
The Bureau is also statutorily obligated to bring two types of cases in circuit court when referred by the Illinois Department of Human Rights: (1) complaints to enforce orders of the Illinois Human Rights Commission; and (2) complaints alleging housing discrimination where either the complainant or the respondent in the administrative proceeding before the Commission elected to have the case removed to circuit court. In addition to these responsibilities under the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Bureau also monitors reporting compliance with the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act and has authority to file actions in circuit court to seek civil penalties for hate crimes.
The Bureau’s advocacy for the civil rights of Illinois residents also includes substantial involvement in police reform efforts. Most significantly, the Bureau has primary enforcement responsibility for a wide-ranging consent decree to implement sweeping reforms at the Chicago Police Department. The Bureau has also advocated for legislative measures at the state and federal level to ensure constitutional policing.
In recent years, the Bureau has frequently collaborated with partners in other Attorney General offices around the country on matters of common interest. For example, the Bureau recently spearheaded a multi-state effort to advocate against changes in federal regulation that would permit discrimination against transgender people in federally-funded homeless shelters. The Bureau has also previously participated in nationwide fair lending cases, including one that resulted in the largest fair lending settlement in history.
The Bureau practices in federal court and circuit courts statewide and collaborates regularly with other Bureaus in the Attorney General’s Office, as well as community stakeholders. In addition to investigation and litigation, the Civil Rights Bureau serves as a resource for the office on civil rights topics, including advising the office on proposed legislation related to civil rights and collaborating with other states to respond to civil rights issues of national importance. Current focus areas for the Bureau include protecting voting rights and working to address healthcare inequality, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The next Bureau Chief should be a skilled litigator, have demonstrated a commitment to aggressively enforcing state and federal civil rights laws, and have excellent communication and management skills. Specifically, the Bureau Chief must be able to effectively manage a team of lawyers and support staff, provide and be receptive to feedback, interact well with other supervisors, and supervise day-to-day operations of the Bureau. The Bureau Chief must be able to represent the Office in outreach related to civil rights issues and foster a spirit of communication and responsiveness. Candidates with a minimum of eight (8) years of experience as a licensed attorney are preferred.
Salary and Experience: Commensurate with qualifications and experience.
To ensure full consideration, please send cover letter and resume to:
An Equal Opportunity Employer
The Illinois Attorney General's Office is an equal opportunity employer. The Office considers applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital or veteran status, or the presence of a non-job-related medical condition or disability.