July 08, 2022

New Chicago Ordinance on Sexual Harassment Takes Effect

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The new Chicago Ordinance on sexual harassment, effective July 1, 2022, requires that an employer maintaining a business facility within the geographic boundaries of Chicago must have a written policy—including a conspicuously displayed notice poster in English and Spanish—documenting the prohibition of sexual harassment.

The written policy must include the following features:

  1. A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
  2. Definition of sexual harassment as defined in section 6-10-020, which adds that sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and sexual misconduct, meaning any behavior of a sexual nature which also involves coercion, abuse of authority or misuse of an individual's employment position.
  3. Requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training annually (minimum of one hour). Anyone supervising/managing employees must participate in a minimum of two hours of training annually.
  4. Requirement that all employees participate in one hour of bystander training annually.
  5. Examples of prohibited conduct that constitutes sexual harassment (the ordinance does not provide examples).
  6. Details on (1) how an individual can report sexual harassment, including instructions on how to make a confidential report with a form, to a manager, the employer's headquarters, the Human Resources department or another internal reporting mechanism; and (2) how legal services, including governmental, are available to employees who may be victims of harassment.
  7. Statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.

This written policy must be retained for five years. The policy must be provided in the employee's primary language within one week of their start date. When administering the required training, the employer can use the model sexual harassment prevention training program prepared by the State of Illinois required under 775 ILCS 5/2-109 or it may have its own prevention training program that is equal to or exceeds the Illinois law. Evidence of training, including slides and other materials, must be retained for five years.

Chicago recently released its model training slides and model written notices, which can be found here and here.

If McDermott can assist in any way to help you meet these new requirements, please contact your McDermott Employment lawyer or the authors listed below.

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