sexual harassment in the office

3 Things You Need To Know About Chicago’s New Sexual Harassment Law

Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council made some serious changes to the city’s anti-sexual harassment ordinance. Although the law has been in effect for a few months, many employers still have questions about its implementation. And many victims are unaware of the additional protections in place. 

The Vaziri Law LLC team handles a lot of employment law disputes, and advises Chicago area companies on compliance issues, so this post will highlight three of the key provisions in the new law. 

1. The new law requires all employees to be given an hour of training on how to intervene if they witness sexual harassment. 

Many of the provisions in Chicago’s new anti-sexual harassment law are duplicative of the requirements contained in the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). One portion that is unique and causing some confusion is the section requiring Chicago area employees be given one hour of training each year on how to intervene if they witness sexual harassment. 

This so-called “bystander training” must be given in addition to the hour (2 hours for supervisors/managers) of anti-sexual harassment training the IHRA requires all employees be provided. 

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) says, “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.” 

The Commission has produced a training document that can be used as the foundation for the required training, which must be completed by June 30, 2023. However, most employers and employees would benefit from a more customized training that addresses issues and scenarios that may arise in their work environment. 

2. The new law increases the amount of time victims have to come forward from 300 days to 365 days. 

While an increase of just 65 days may not seem like a lot, this two-month period will make a big difference to victims. It can take a long time to come to terms with the fact that you have been sexually harassed and then to work up the courage to speak up about it. Giving victims a full year to come forward and hold their abusers accountable is an important step forward. 

3. The new law increases the maximum fine for violating the city’s prohibition on sexual harassment from $5,000 to $10,000.

The new law adds some teeth to the city’s enforcement power by doubling the fine for violations. Employers who don’t take steps to comply with the law face penalties of $5,000 to $10,000.00.

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These three changes are already having a significant impact on Chicago area employers and employees. Vaziri Law LLC is helping employers in our area make sure they are in compliance with the new law and helping employees who believe they have been harassed figure out how to seek justice. 
If you have questions about Chicago’s new anti-sexual harassment law or believe you are the victim of harassment, the experienced team at Vaziri Law LLC is here for you. We represent clients from across the Chicagoland area from our downtown office. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting.