Skip to main content
Top Button
Reminder: New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements for Companies with Employees in Chicago Reminder: New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements for Companies with Employees in Chicago

Reminder: New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements for Companies with Employees in Chicago

Illinois employers should already be familiar with the requirements for sexual harassment training under the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act. As of July 1, 2022, employers with employees in Chicago will have some additional requirements related to the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, including an additional posting, modifications to written policies, and expanded training obligation. An employer that fails to comply with the new requirements in the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance (Ordinance) will be exposed to monetary penalties, so it is important to understand the new requirements.

New Poster and Update to Written Policy

The most time-sensitive requirements for employers are to make updates to sexual harassment policies and to post new notices. By July 1, 2022, all employers with employees in Chicago must update their sexual harassment policies and display new notices. A copy of the notice can be found here. Employers must display the notice in both English and Spanish.

To the extent an employer’s current written policy does not already comply, employers must create a written policy that includes:
  • a statement that sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago;
  • the new and expansive definition of “sexual harassment,” which is provided below;  
  • a notification that all employees are required to participate in sexual harassment prevention and bystander training annually;
  • examples of conduct that amount to sexual harassment; and
  • information on how to report sexual harassment allegations, how to make a confidential report or internal complaint to the appropriate individuals, and an overview of the legal services, including governmental services, available to employees.
The required definition of sexual harassment is as follows: any (i) unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or (ii) requests for sexual favors or conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for any employment decision affecting the individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment; or (iii) sexual misconduct, which is behavior of a sexual nature that also involves coercion, abuse of authority, or misuse of an individual’s employment position.

Sexual Harassment Training

Employers must conduct sexual harassment prevention training by June 30, 2023, and annually thereafter. The training must include one hour of sexual harassment prevention training (two hours for supervisors/managers) and one hour of bystander intervention training for all employees. “Bystander intervention” refers to actions an individual can take when they witness an incident. The training provides ways for that individual to safely intervene. 

Document Retention Requirements 

Employers also must keep records of their written policies, the training provided, and all other records necessary to show compliance for at least five years, or through the duration of any claim, civil action, or pending investigation.  

Employers that do not comply with the Ordinance can be fined between $500 – $1000 for each offense—every day that a violation continues is a separate offense, making it important that employers comply in a timely manner.

Please contact Tami Earnhart, Masallay Komrabai-Kanu or any other member of our Workplace Solutions Group if you have questions or would like assistance in complying with the new law.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
View Full Site View Mobile Optimized