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What Employers Need To Know: Chicago's Updated Sexual Harassment Ordinance

The Chicago City Council amended its Human Rights Ordinance, as to sexual harassment, effective July 1, 2022.

The ordinance and amendments (SO2022-665) apply to all employers  with at least one employee working within the city.

The definition of sexual harassment has been expanded:

The definition will be:

"'Sexual harassment' means any unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; or requests for sexual favors or conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for any employment decision

affecting the individual; or 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 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."

The definition of sexual orientation will be:

"'Sexual orientation' means the actual or perceived state of heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality - a person's actual or perceived sexual and emotional attraction, or lack thereof, to another person."

Policy requirements: employers must have a written sexual harassment prevention policy that contains the definition and examples; a statement that sexual harassment and retaliation are illegal; directions on how to report sexual harassment within the organization; information as to legal services available to employees who believe they have experienced sexual harassment (Note: a complaint may now be filed with the Commission on Human Relations up to 365 days after the incident complained of); and a notice regarding required sexual harassment prevention and bystander training.

Training requirements: one (1) hour of sexual harassment prevention training for employees, in addition to one (1) hour of bystander intervention training, each year. Two (2) hours of sexual harassment prevention training is required for managers, in addition to one (1) hour of bystander intervention training, each year.

The CCHR (Chicago Commission on Human Relations) will be posting its training to meet these requirements on its website on July 1, 2022. https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cchr/supp_info/sexual-harassment.html

Stay tuned. The McCalmon Group is updating its current training module entitled "Smarter, Better Sexual Harassment Prevention – Illinois" to reflect the new Chicago changes and will be releasing a bystander intervention module soon.

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