Chicago’s New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements Set Stage for Other States and Municipalities
The City of Chicago previously required all Chicago employers to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors and one hour for all other employees annually. Now, Chicago has increased these requirements adding an additional hour of “bystander intervention” sexual harassment training annually. Guidance on the new requirement defines bystander intervention as “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 City’s sexual harassment prevention law also expands the definition of “Sexual Harassment” to explicitly include “sexual misconduct.” The definition as amended defines sexual misconduct as “any behavior of a sexual nature which also involves coercion, abuse of authority, or misuse of an individual’s employment position.”
These new requirements and expanded definitions may set the stage for other states and municipalities to follow suit. Employers both within and outside the Chicago area should take this opportunity to assess their training requirements for employees, review any existing written sexual harassment policies, including internal reporting and complaint procedures, and pay close attention to any legislative developments in their jurisdiction. Even though a set amount or type of sexual harassment training is not required in Michigan, annual, comprehensive anti-harassment training is recommended to prevent unlawful workplace harassment, and can help in the defense of harassment claims.
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