Reminder Alert: Chicago Sexual Harassment Training deadline is July 1, 2023.
This training is required by all Employers with employees that “work” in Chicago City Limits. Meaning: you don’t have to have an office in Chicago for this to apply. If you have a salesperson who visits the city for sales calls, or a worker that works from their home in Chicago from time to time, or someone who has to go to the city for any job-related reason – this applies to YOU!
Starting June 4, 2022, all penalties for violating Chicago’s sexual harassment laws were increased by 1000% and now range from $5,000 – $10,000 per violation. So, if you haven’t conducted the training or are not sure if the Ordinance applies to your business – read on!
As of July 1, 2022, the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance requires that all employers must provide the following training annually:
For all employees:
- One hour of sexual harassment prevention for all employees
- One hour of bystander training for all employees
For all supervisors/managers:
- Two hours of sexual harassment prevention for all employees
- One hour of bystander training for all employees
The City of Chicago provides training templates for the sexual harassment and bystander intervention, though the City suggests employers expand on and tailor the training to meet your business’ individual needs of employers. A list of additional training and informational material is also provided. Here’s a link to the ordinance itself (starts on page 11).
Questions? The City’s website provides a detailed FAQ which can be visited here. Below we’ve broken down and summarized some of the more common questions for your convenience. But note this blog is not updated in live time, so you should refer to the City’s website to ensure no changes have been made.
Q: I am a small business owner; do I have to comply with the City’s new sexual harassment laws?
A: Yes, the ordinance applies to all employers regardless of size.
Q: My business has a couple of employees who work within the geographical boundaries of Chicago but the rest work outside of Chicago. Is my business required to maintain a sexual harassment policy and place the poster in the workplace?
A: Yes. The policy and posting requirements apply to all employers who have any employees that work in Chicago. A template policy and poster can be found here. Navigant Law Group, LLC works with clients to tailor the policy to the businesses’ specific needs. For more information, contact us at Contact Us – Navigant Law Group, LLC or call us at 847-253-8800.
Q: My business has employees who occasionally work within the geographical boundaries of Chicago. Is my business required to conduct sexual harassment training for these employees?
A: Yes. The training requirements apply to all employees who work in Chicago.
Q: My managers/supervisors do not work in Chicago, but they supervise people who do. Do they have to go through the Chicago training?
A: Yes. The training requirement applies to all managers or supervisors of employees who work in Chicago, even if the manager or supervisor works entirely outside of Chicago.
Q: My business already completes the annual sexual harassment training mandated by the State of Illinois. Does this training satisfy the City of Chicago’s training requirements?
A: Yes, but only in part. The State of Illinois model sexual harassment training prevention program satisfies the required 1-hour sexual harassment training BUT it does not satisfy the 1 hour of bystander intervention training or the additional hour of prevention training for supervisors and managers.
Q: What is meant by “bystander intervention”?
A: Chicago is the first municipality in the country to require companies provide separate “bystander” sexual harassment training. A bystander is someone who observes some incident but chooses not to get involved. Bystander intervention involves safe and positive actions that may be carried out by a person, or a group of people to prevent harm or intervene where there is a risk or perceived risk of sexual harassment to another.
Q: How often does my business need to conduct the training?
A: The training must be conducted on an annual basis between July 1 – June 30. This means that employers must conduct the first round of required training between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 and can conduct annually thereafter.
Q: Where can businesses locate materials for sexual harassment training, supervisor/manager training and bystander intervention training?
Q: Does the Ordinance require businesses submit a report to the City of Chicago certifying that its employees have completed sexual harassment and bystander intervention training?
A: No. While Employers are required to maintain training records for a period of at least five years. Employers are not automatically required to submit completed training records. Though the City can request these records – for example if there’s an allegation of a violation. So properly maintaining the records is important.
Q: What is required in the written sexual harassment policy?
- Statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
- Definition of sexual harassment as defined in the Chicago Municipal Code Section 6-010-020.
- Requirement that all employees participate in annual sexual harassment prevention training and bystander intervention training.
- Examples of prohibited conduct
- Details on how to report sexual harassment and legal services available to employees who may be victims of sexual harassment.
- Statement that retaliation is prohibited.
Should you have any questions about the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, Chicago Sexual Harassment policies or training requirements or would like to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss other employment law needs, contact Navigant Law Group, LLC at (847) 253-8800 or contact us online here!
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