Chicago has established an ordinance that will require employers to have a written policy on sexual harassment, provide harassment training annually, and display a poster in the workplace beginning July 1, 2022.
Covered Employers and Employees:
The changes cover any employer that is subject to Chicago licensing requirements or maintains a business facility within city limits. Employees are covered if they are engaged to work in the city for or under the direction or control of another for monetary or other valuable consideration.
Effective July 1, 2022, all covered employers must have a written policy on sexual harassment. The written policy document must include at least the following:
- A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
- The new definition of sexual harassment as defined in Section 6-010-020 of the city code:
“Any (i) unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; (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, or (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 means any behavior of a sexual nature which also involves coercion, abuse of authority, or misuse of an individual’s employment position.”
- A requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training annually (see below).
- Examples of prohibited conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
- Details on:
- A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
The written policy must be available in the employee's primary language within the first calendar week of starting employment. Additionally, employers will be required to display a poster advising of the prohibition on sexual harassment where employees can see it. A model policy and the poster are expected to be made available to employers on the city’s website by July 1, 2022.
Covered employees must participate in a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training annually. Anyone who supervises or manages employees must participate in a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training annually. All employees must participate in one hour of bystander training annually.
Note: The state of Illinois already requires employers to provide harassment training annually. Chicago says that the state’s training template, which is one hour, would be sufficient for sexual harassment prevention training required for employees. Training modules for the additional hour of training for supervisors and for the bystander training are expected to be made available to employers on the city’s website by July 1, 2022.
- As of July 1, 2022, we will offer a course titled “Common Ground: Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention (For employees in CA and Chicago, IL)” to cover the one-hour harassment training requirement for covered employees.
- For the two-hour harassment training required for supervisors/managers a course titled “Common Ground: Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention (For supervisors in CA and Chicago, IL)” will be offered.
- For the bystander training requirement, content will be prepared in the near future, In the interim, a module bystander training will be available as of July 1, 2022 at City of Chicago :: Sexual Harassment
· For clients using our handbook product a Chicago Discrimination and Non-Harassment (Including Sexual Harassment) Policy and an accompanying complaint form have been created to comply with the ordinance. The new Chicago policy also includes the information regarding discrimination, sexual harassment and pregnancy and disability accommodation as required by the Illinois Human Rights Act to be included in employee handbooks. The Chicago policy should be used for employees in Chicago.
- Watch the city’s website for the poster materials.
- Implement the policy and display the required poster as soon as possible.
- Begin providing annual training that meets all of the requirements of the ordinance.