Employer Requirements – Amended City of Chicago Sexual Harassment Ordinance

As of July 1, 2022, employers in the City of Chicago are required to comply with the Commission on Human Relations’ amendments to the City of Chicago’s Human Rights Ordinance—focusing on the provisions prohibiting sexual harassment—including expanded employer training and notification requirements.  Employers in the City of Chicago, as it relates to the amended sexual harassment ordinance, are defined as employers who are: (1) licensed by the City of Chicago; and/or (2) maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago. Such employers are required to:

  • Maintain a written policy on sexual harassment by July 1, 2022;
  • Conspicuously display posters designed by the Commission about the prohibitions on sexual harassment in at least English and Spanish by July 1, 2022;
  • Annually provide one hour of sexual harassment prevention training and one hour of bystander intervention training for all employees, as well as an additional hour of sexual harassment prevention training for all supervisors and managers; and
  • Retain for at least five years, or the duration of any claim, civil action, or investigation pending pursuant to this ordinance, whichever is longer, records regarding sexual harassment policies, training, or compliance.

Employers must ensure that employees participate in their first required training, as prescribed in the ordinance, by June 30, 2023. Moreover, the written policy must be available in the employee’s primary language within the first calendar week of starting employment. Employers’ sexual harassment policies must include:

  • A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.
  • The definition of sexual harassment as defined in the ordinance.
  • A requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training annually.
  • That employees shall participate in a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training annually. Anyone who supervises or manages employees shall
  • participate in a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training annually and all employees must participate in one hour of bystander training annually.
  • Examples of prohibited conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
  • Details on:
  • how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment, including as appropriate, instructions on how to make a confidential report, with an internal compliant form, to a manager, employer’s corporate headquarters or human resources department, or other internal reporting mechanism; and
  • legal services, including governmental, available to employees who may be victims of sexual harassment.
  • A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago.

According to the Commission on Human Relations, on or before July 1, 2022, model policies, notice posters, and training materials will be posted online at https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cchr/supp_info/sexual-harassment.html.

Employers who violate the City of Chicago sexual harassment ordinance are subject to fines between $500-$1,000 for each offense. Every day a violation continues constitutes a separate and distinct offense.  

Many Illinois specific harassment prevention policies and training can be modified for compliance with the amended ordinance.