The Chicago City Council has implemented new employer regulations requiring training to employees and supervisors on sexual harassment prevention and how bystanders should respond to sexual harassment.
According to our partners at SHRM, the new ordinance also moves sections of the Human Rights Ordinance from Chapter 2-160 (“Human Rights”) of the Municipal Code to Article 6 (“Worker Protections”) and substantially revised former section 2-160-040 (“Sexual Harassment”), which is now part of section 6-10-040.
These amendments are officially effective beginning July 1, 2022, which means all Chicago employers must comply with by July 1, 2023.
Details and terms
The ordinance maintains the definition of “employer” in the Human Rights Ordinance (codified as 6-10-020). An employer is “any individual, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, business trust, or any person or group of persons that provides employment to one or more employees in the current or preceding calendar year and any agent of such an entity or person.”
The ordinance also adjusts the definition of employee. An employee is now termed as “an individual who is engaged to work within the geographical boundaries of the City of Chicago for or under the direction and control of another for monetary or other valuable consideration.”
The ordinance maintains the current liability provision in the Human Rights Ordinance (codified as section 6-10-040(a)). The provision states: “No employer, employee, agent of an employer, employment agency, or labor organization shall engage in sexual harassment. An employer shall be liable for sexual harassment by nonemployees or nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees only if the employer becomes aware of the conduct and fails to take reasonable corrective measures.”
Lastly, the new ordinance also reshapes the definition of sexual orientation in the Human Rights Ordinance. Sexual orientation now means “a person’s actual or perceived sexual and emotional attraction, or lack thereof, to another person.”
Updates to training requirements
- Chicago has increased training requirements in addition to the IL requirements
- All employees must receive a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training every year, while supervisors require a minimum of two hours
- In addition, employers must implement a minimum of one hour of bystander intervention training for all employees, annually
- The city will be releasing model training by July 1 on the additional hour of training for both supervisors and bystander intervention
Additionally, all Chicago employers must have a written policy on sexual harassment, including at a minimum:
- A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago
- The definition of sexual harassment
- A description of the new training requirements
- Examples of prohibited conduct that constitute sexual harassment
- Details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment
- A description of legal services, including governmental, available to employees who may be victims of sexual harassment
- A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago
The written policy must be available in the employee’s primary language during their first week of employment. Chicago’s model anti-harassment policy (translated into multiple languages) is available here.
Additionally, Chicago employers must also display an anti-harassment poster, available here.
Finally, Chicago’s new annual anti-harassment training requirement begin July 1, meaning all employees will need to receive the required trainings by July 1, 2023. Training templates and materials are available to download from the City of Chicago’s website here.