On April 27, 2022, the Chicago City Council passed an amendment to the city’s sexual harassment laws to make them stronger and promote a safer workplace environment. The amendment includes an expansion of the definition of sexual harassment, increased training requirements for employees and managers, a new requirement for employers to establish a written policy on sexual harassment, and stricter penalties for violations.
As of July 1st, 2022, all employers must have a written policy on sexual harassment including:
(1) A statement that sexual harrassment is illegal in Chicago; (2) the definition of sexual harrassment (as defined by the ordinance); (3) a requirement that all employees participate in sexual harrassment prevention training annually; (4) examples of prohibited conduct that constitute sexual harassment; (5) details on reporting and legal services; and (6) a statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
The training requirement states that “[e]mployees shall participate in a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training annually.” Managers and supervisors have a heightened requirement to participate in “a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training annually.”
In addition to sexual harassment prevention training, “all employees must participate in one hour of bystander training annually.” Bystander intervention training teaches strategies on how onlookers can involve themselves both directly and indirectly into harassment incidents to help those being targeted.
The Commission on Human Rights, which monitors and enforces the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, provides guidance on their website for training, policy, and notice requirements that employers must have prepared by July 1, 2022.
Failure to comply with the expanded posting, policy, or training requirements could result in fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 per offense, with each day constituting a separate offense. Fines for discriminatory practices, including sexual harassment, have increased significantly under the ordinance to between $5,000 and $10,000 per offense, with every day during which the violation continues considered as a separate offense. Other penalties include damages and attorney’s fees paid to the complaining party. The city may also enjoin employers to take specific actions to eliminate discriminatory practices. Finally, a finding of sexual harassment or other discrimination may affect the continued licensure of a business in the City of Chicago.
Clear Law ensures that its clients comply with all sexual harassment training laws. Clear Law offers both one- and two-hour versions of its sexual harassment prevention course. While we already offer training on bystander intervention, we will also be creating a one-hour version of training on this topic to comply with the new Chicago law.
Employees must complete their first annual training by June 30, 2023. By complying with the Chicago ordinance, employers will also be in compliance with the less stringent Illinois state training requirements. Clear Law has been in contact with and will continue to consult with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations to ensure that our training complies with all aspects of the new Chicago Human Rights Ordinance.
Consistent with EEOC guidelines and court decisions, Clear Law’s interactive, online harassment training covers not just sexual harassment, but all forms of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
The online course is fully customizable; each organization can include their logo, workplace images, introductory messages, and the company’s unique policies and procedures for preventing and addressing workplace discrimination.
Learn more about Clear Law Institute’s full suite of online sexual harassment training. Clear Law Institute is also proud to offer harassment prevention compliance packages, which include required policies, notices, and postings for each jurisdiction in which employers operate.