In April 2022, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance amending municipal code, expanding employee protections against sexual harassment and new employer requirements to prevent harassment. While some of the changes went into effect on June 4, 2022, many of the revisions that require action from the employer will become effective on July 1, 2022.
On June 4, 2022, the following amendments to the law came into effect:
- The definition of sexual harassment has been expanded to include sexual misconduct;
- increasing the statute of limitations, under which a victim may report sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, from 300 to 365 days;
- increased the timeline in which CCHR may notify a person who allegedly caused harm to up to 30 days from the date a complaint was filed, from 10 days earlier;
- Penalties for discrimination increased from $500-$1,000 per violation to $5,000-$10,000 per violation.
On July 1, 2022, more changes to the law will take effect, including a requirement that all employers in the City of Chicago have a written sexual harassment policy, post a notice of sexual harassment, conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training, and maintain records demonstrating compliance.
sexual harassment policy:
Employers must have a written policy prohibiting sexual harassment that includes the following:
- A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in the City of Chicago,
- The city’s new enhanced definition of sexual harassment,
- training requirements,
- Examples of prohibited conduct that constitutes sexual harassment,
- reporting procedures and legal services available, and
- A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
This policy must be presented to new employees within the first calendar week of employment and must be written in the employee’s primary language.
Sexual harassment poster:
In addition, employers are required to post a notice where employees can see it stating that sexual harassment is prohibited. Employers must post at least one poster designed by CCHR in English and one in Spanish.
Sexual harassment prevention training:
Employers must provide annual training as listed below. With this provision going into effect on July 1, 2022, the first round of training must be completed by June 30, 2023.
- One hour of sexual harassment prevention training for all employees and an additional hour of this prevention training (2 hours total) for managers and supervisors.
- One hour of spectator training for all staff
Record keeping requirements:
Employers must keep a written record of their employer’s sexual harassment policy and trainings provided to each employee, along with any other records necessary to demonstrate compliance, for at least five years (or the duration of any civil claim, suit, or investigation pending under the Order, if longer). .
Employers must take steps to ensure that their policies, labels, and training are in compliance when these changes in the law take effect. More information can be found at the City of Chicago: Sexual Harassment Website. Sexual harassment policies, posters and training forms will be available on this site by July 1, 2022.
Contact us today to find out how our team can help your organization meet these employer requirements.
About the author
Amy Wisner is a Human Resources Advisor in the Insurance Risk Services team. With over 25 years of HR experience, Amy helps clients reduce risk, improve employee morale, increase efficiencies, and reduce employee turnover by recommending and implementing HR solutions to their business challenges. She acts as an advisor and partner to business leaders on HR topics including performance management and development, retention and engagement, talent acquisition, employee relations, compensation, policy management and training.