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06/30/94 TANDY CORPORATION v. ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS

June 30, 1994

TANDY CORPORATION, PETITIONER,
v.
ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND LEROY GRUMBACH II, RESPONDENTS.



Petition for Review of an Order of the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Tully, Rizzi, Greiman

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tully

PRESIDING JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioner Tandy Corporation (hereinafter Tandy) seeks this court's direct administrative review of an order entered by respondent Illinois Human Rights Commission (hereinafter the Commission), reversing an administrative law Judge's decision to dismiss a complaint filed against Tandy with the Commission by respondent Leroy Grumbach II (hereinafter Grumbach). Jurisdiction is vested in this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 335 (134 Ill. 2d R. 335).

On appeal, petitioner argues that the Commission erred because: (1) the Commission lacked jurisdiction to proceed on the complaint due to its not being filed within 30 days as is required by section 7-102(G)(1) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 68, par. 7-102(G)(1) (now codified as 775 ILCS 5/7A-102(G)(1) (West 1992))), prior to its amendment in 1987; and (2) the 300-day filing period contained in the new section 7A-102(G)(3) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 68, par. 7A-102(G)(3) (now codified as 775 ILCS 5/7A-102(G)(3) (West 1992))) is a mandatory jurisdictional limitation which requires dismissal.

For the reasons which follow, we affirm and remand.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On April 28, 1986, Grumbach filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (hereinafter the Department) alleging that he was terminated by Tandy from his position with the company as a district manager on the basis of hisrace. After engaging in fact-finding procedures, the Department filed a complaint of civil rights violations with the Commission against Tandy on Grumbach's charge on April 6, 1989.

On May 8, 1989, Tandy filed a motion to dismiss Grumbach's complaint. The motion to dismiss alleged that the complaint was time-barred by section 7-102(G)(1) because of the Department's failure within 300 days of the filing of Grumbach's charge of discrimination and, therefore, the Commission thereby lacked jurisdiction over the complaint. On June 20, 1990, the administrative law Judge issued a "Recommended Order and Decision" finding that Tandy's motion should be granted.

On July 23, 1990, Grumbach filed exceptions to the recommendation. On March 28, 1991, a three-member panel of the Commission disagreed with the administrative law Judge's application of section 7-102(G)(1) to the case and issued an "Order and Decision" which reversed the Recommended Order and Decision and remanded the complaint for a hearing on the merits. On April 25, 1991, Tandy filed a petition for rehearing before the full Commission seeking review of the panel's Order and Decision of March 28, 1991. On September 6, 1991, the Commission issued an order denying Tandy's petition for rehearing on the basis that the Order and Decision reversing the administrative law Judge was not a final Disposition of the case.

On October 1, 1991, Tandy filed a petition for review with this court premising jurisdiction on Rule 335 and the instant appeal followed.

We turn now to the question of whether the Commission lacked jurisdiction to proceed on the complaint as result of its not having been filed timely. Section 7-102(G)(1) provides:

"(1) When a charge of a civil rights violation has been properly filed, the Department, within 300 days thereof or within any extension of that period agreed to in writing by all parties, shall either issue and file a complaint in the manner and form set forth in this section or shall order that no complaint be issued. Any such order shall be duly served upon both the complainant and the respondent." ...


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