(775 ILCS 5/8B-102) (from Ch. 68, par. 8B-102)
    Sec. 8B-102. Hearing on complaint.
    (A) Election of Judicial Determination. When a complaint is filed under Section 7B-102(F) a complainant, a respondent, or an aggrieved party on whose behalf the complaint was filed, may elect to have the claims asserted in that complaint decided in a civil action in a circuit court of Illinois, in which case the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure shall apply. The election must be made not later than 20 days after the receipt by the electing person of service of the complaint by the Commission. The person making such election shall file it with the Commission and shall give notice of doing so to the Department and to all other complainants and respondents to whom the charge relates. If an election is made, the Commission shall act no further on the complaint and shall administratively close the file on the complaint. If an election is not made, the Commission shall continue proceedings on the complaint in accordance with this Act and the hearing shall be before a hearing officer.
    (B) Services. Within 5 days after a complaint is filed by the Department, the Commission shall cause it to be served on the respondent and complainant together with a notice of hearing before a hearing officer of the Commission at a place therein fixed and with information as to how to make an election under subsection (A) and the effect of such an election.
    (C) Time and Location of Hearing. An initial hearing date shall be scheduled for not less than 30 nor more than 90 days after service of the complaint at a place that is within 100 miles of the place at which the civil rights violation is alleged to have occurred. The hearing officer may, for good cause shown, extend the date of the hearing.
    (D) Amendment.
        (1) A complaint may be amended under oath by leave of
the presiding hearing officer, for good cause shown, upon timely written motion and reasonable notice to all interested parties at any time prior to the issuance of a recommended order pursuant to Section 8A-102(I) or 8B-102(J). The amended complaint shall be served upon all parties of record by the Department within 7 days of the date of the order permitting its filing or such additional time as the hearing officer may order. Amendments to the complaint may encompass any unlawful discrimination which is like or reasonably related to the charge and growing out of the allegations in such charge, including, but not limited to, allegations of retaliation.
        (2) A motion that the complaint be amended to conform
to the evidence, made prior to the close of the public hearing, may be addressed orally on the record to the hearing officer, and shall be granted for good and sufficient cause.
    (E) Answer.
        (1) The respondent shall file an answer under oath or
affirmation to the original or amended complaint within 30 days of the date of service thereof, but the hearing officer may, for good cause shown, grant further time for the filing of an answer.
        (2) When the respondent files a motion to dismiss the
complaint within 30 days and the motion is denied by the hearing officer, the time for filing the answer shall be within 15 days of the date of denial of the motion.
        (3) Any allegation in the complaint which is not
denied or admitted in the answer is deemed admitted unless the respondent states in the answer that he is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief with respect to such allegation.
        (4) The failure to file an answer is deemed to
constitute an admission of the allegations contained in the complaint.
        (5) The respondent has the right to amend his answer,
upon leave of the hearing officer, for good cause shown.
    (F) Proceedings In Forma Pauperis.
        (1) If the hearing officer is satisfied that the
complainant or respondent is a poor person, and unable to prosecute or defend the complaint and pay the costs and expenses thereof, the hearing officer may permit the party to commence and prosecute or defend the action as a poor person. Such party shall have all the necessary subpoenas, appearances, and proceedings without prepayment of witness fees or charges. Witnesses shall attend as in other cases under this Act and the same remedies shall be available for failure or refusal to obey the subpoena as are provided for in Section 8-104 of this Act.
        (2) A person desiring to proceed without payment of
fees or charges shall file with the hearing officer an affidavit stating that he is a poor person and unable to pay costs, and that the action is meritorious.
    (G) Discovery. The procedures for obtaining discovery of information from parties and witnesses shall be specified by the Commission in rules. If no rule has been promulgated by the Commission on a particular type of discovery, the Code of Civil Procedure may be considered persuasive authority. The types of discovery shall be the same as in civil cases in the circuit courts of this State, provided, however, that a party may take discovery depositions only upon leave of the hearing officer and for good cause shown.
    (H) Hearing.
        (1) The Department and the respondent shall be
parties in hearings under this Article. The Department shall seek appropriate relief for the complainant and vindication of the public interest. Any complainant may intervene as a party. All parties have the right to examine and cross examine witnesses.
        (2) The testimony taken at the hearing shall be under
oath or affirmation and a transcript shall be made and filed in the office of the Commission.
        (3) The testimony taken at the hearing is subject to
the same rules of evidence that apply in courts of this State in civil cases.
    (I) Compelling Appearance of Parties at Hearing. The appearance at the hearing of a party or a person who at the time of the hearing is an officer, director, or employee of a party may be required by serving the party with a notice designating the person who is required to appear. The notice also may require the production at the hearing of documents or tangible things. If the party or person is a nonresident of the county, the hearing officer may order any terms and conditions in connection with his appearance at the hearing that are just, including payment of his reasonable expenses. Upon a failure to comply with the notice, the hearing officer may enter any order that is just.
    (J) Decision.
        (1) When all the testimony has been taken, the
hearing officer shall determine whether the respondent has engaged in or is engaging in the civil rights violation with respect to the aggrieved party as charged in the complaint. A determination sustaining a complaint shall be based upon a preponderance of the evidence.
        (2) The hearing officer shall make findings of fact
in writing and, if the finding is against the respondent, shall issue and cause to be served on the parties and the Department a recommended order for appropriate relief as provided by this Act.
        (3) If, upon all the evidence, the hearing officer
finds that a respondent has not engaged in the civil rights violation charged in the complaint or that a preponderance of the evidence does not sustain the complaint, he shall state his findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the parties and the Department a recommended order dismissing the complaint.
        (4) The findings and recommended order of the hearing
officer shall be filed with the Commission. The findings and recommended order may be authored by a hearing officer other than the hearing officer who presides at the public hearing if:
            (a) the hearing officer who presides at the
public hearing is unable to author the findings and recommended order by reason of death, disability, or separation from employment; and
            (b) all parties to a complaint file a joint
motion agreeing to have the findings and recommended order written by a hearing officer who did not preside at the public hearing.
        (5) The hearing officer may issue a recommended order
of dismissal with prejudice or a recommended order of default as a sanction for the failure of a party to prosecute his or her case, file a required pleading, appear at a hearing, or otherwise comply with this Act, the rules of the Commission, or a previous order of the hearing officer.
    (K) Effect of Trial of Civil Action on Administrative Proceedings. A hearing officer shall not proceed with any administrative proceedings under this Section after the filing of a civil action by or on behalf of the aggrieved party under federal or State law seeking relief with respect to the alleged civil rights violation.
(Source: P.A. 92-472, eff. 1-1-02.)