Enhancements to Chicago’s Sexual Harassment Laws
According to FUTURES Without Violence, 4 in 5 women experience sexual harassment in the workplace in the United States1 . The City of Chicago takes a zero-tolerance stance to sexual harassment.
The changes to Chicago’s sexual harassment laws below align with the Citywide Strategic Plan to Address Gender-based Violence and Human Trafficking. The plan specifically seeks to analyze and reform policies that perpetuate or create opportunities for gender-based violence and human trafficking, by strengthening worker protections and educating workers and their allies about their rights so that they can continuously advocate for safe and just workplaces.
Enhancements to sexual harassment laws in Chicago Enhances the definition of sexual harassment.
This provides clarity by revising the definition of sexual harassment to explicitly include sexual misconduct.
Requires businesses to incorporate a written sexual harassment policy.
A model policy will be developed and provided on the Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) website. Additionally, employers will be required to display a poster advising of the prohibition on sexual harassment where employees can see it. CCHR and the Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) will have authority over enforcement. **Written policy and poster requirements will go into effect July 1, 2022 .
Adds safety measures for employees.
Allows CCHR to expand the notification timeline from 10 days to up to 30 days so CCHR has flexibility on when it must notify a respondent of the filing of a complaint. This intends to help to mitigate any retaliation such as a denial of a reasonable accommodation request
Increases the statute of limitations.
Victims will now have 365 days, instead of 300 days, to report all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment.
Increases training requirements.
- 1 hour of sexual harassment prevention for all employees annually (2 hours for supervisors/managers)
- 1 hour of bystander training for all employees annually
The State training template, which provides one hour of training, would be sufficient for the sexual harassment prevention training for employees. Training modules for the additional hour of training and for the bystander training will be made available to employers at the CCHR website. **The training requirement will go into effect July 1, 2022 meaning that by June 30, 2023 all employees must receive the required trainings as their first round of annual training.
Increased penalties for all forms of discrimination from the previous $500 - $1,000 per violation, to $5,000 - $10,000.
For more information, visit Chicago.gov/sexualharassment