EMPLOYMENT LAW – HARASSMENT – CHICAGO

Chicago Sexual Harassment Training

Syntrio’s harassment training courses exceed the Chicago sexual harassment training requirements contained in Chicago’s enhanced sexual harassment law, which mandates annual harassment in the workplace training beyond already-required Illinois sexual harassment training.

Syntrio Chicago Sexual Harassment Training

Chicago Harassment Training

Chicago is the largest population center in Illinois, and its workforce has been subject to a mandatory Illinois sexual harassment in the workplace training requirement since 2019. In April of 2022, section 6-10-040 of the Chicago Municipal Code was amended following the passage of Ordinance 2022-665., which became known as the “sexual harassment ordinance” in Chicago. The Chicago harassment training requirements differ in scope from the Illinois sexual harassment prevention law and carry significant penalties for those Chicago-licensed or Chicago-based employers who ignore the Chicago sexual harassment rule or continue only offering Illinois workplace sexual harassment training. 

Who Must Provide Sexual Harassment Training in Chicago? 

For the Chicago sexual harassment training requirements, the Chicago Municipal Code defines the term “employer” as requiring anyone employing one or more persons in the geographic limits of Chicago who either 1) maintains a business license in the city; 2) maintains a business facility within the City of Chicago; or 3) both. Therefore, the Chicago harassment training requirements apply to almost anyone doing business in the city and are in addition to the Illinois sexual harassment training requirements.    

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What has Changed from Already Required Illinois Sexual Harassment Training?  

Among the critical procedural differences between the Illinois workplace sexual harassment training law and the Chicago sexual harassment training law is the necessity for Chicago employers to provide one hour of training on the prevention of sexual harassment to all non-supervisory employees on an annual basis and two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors every year. Further, the Chicago sexual harassment prevention law requires one additional hour of sexual harassment prevention training for bystanders to be provided to supervisors and non-supervisory employees. 

This means Chicago employers must provide two hours of annual training for non-supervisors and three hours for supervisors. As such, Syntrio has developed products that meet the needs of Chicago employers in complying with both the Illinois sexual harassment training requirement and the Chicago sexual harassment training law in one course (plus a separate course to fulfill the bystander requirement).  

CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE AN ILLINOIS EMPLOYER BUT DO NOT MEET THE DEFINITION OF EMPLOYER UNDER THE CHICAGO MUNICIPAL CODE 

Syntrio Chicago US Workplace Harassment (5th Edition) Training

  • Experienced: Syntrio has been developing workplace harassment training since 2002. 
  • Compliant: Complies with all relevant Chicago regulatory requirements; a course timer ensures learners meet the minimum training time.
  • Engaging: Engages learners through short, live-action stories and practical exercises.  
  • Comprehensive: Addresses all required topics plus contemporary issues, such as workplace relationships, bystander intervention, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  
  • Flexibility: Versions for managers (2 hours) and non-managers (1 hour); other versions that incorporate Chicago with additional state training for easier deployment for multi-state businesses.  
  • Industries: Six industry verticals, including office/general, healthcare, industrial, hospitality, retail, and higher education.

Chicago Harassment Law 

Chicago has some of the most employee-friendly employment laws in the United States. In addition to the municipality’s existence in employee-friendly Illinois and its employees being governed by the Illinois Human Rights Act, Chicago employees are, of course, governed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is the federal anti-discrimination law that sets the floor for sexual harassment and job discrimination protection in the United States.  

Section 6-10-040 of the Chicago Municipal Code is the local law that supplies more excellent protection to employees than either Illinois state sexual harassment law or Title VII. The added requirements set forth by the Chicago Municipal Code include a prohibition against sexual harassment posting requirements, a written sexual harassment policy requirement, and the Chicago sexual harassment training requirements.  

CHICAGO SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAW HAS BROAD APPLICABILITY

The Chicago harassment ordinance applies to all employees, and the Chicago Municipal Code provides a broad definition. The sexual harassment training requirement applies to “any individual engaged in working in the geographical boundaries of the City of Chicago for or under the direction or control of another for monetary or other valuable consideration.” This means nearly everyone working in Chicago (and some not) will need to take this training. 

While the Chicago sexual harassment laws have yet to be tested in court regarding their scope, sexual harassment training is required under the Chicago sexual harassment ordinance to be provided to many individuals. It is well known that the City and its agents will be monitoring compliance. Should your organization wish to avoid a fine and a battle with the City, we recommend applying a broad interpretation of who within your organization may need Chicago sexual harassment training.  

Chicago Sexual Harassment Training Requirements 

As mentioned, the Chicago harassment training law requires employers to provide two total hours of sexual harassment training (one hour of prevention and one hour of bystander) to non-supervisory employees and three total hours of sexual harassment in the workplace training (one hour of sexual harassment prevention and one hour of sexual harassment bystander prevention training) to supervisors and managers.  

Given the Chicago harassment ordinance’s silence on content requirements, the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations created a series of template training materials to be used as a foundation for expanded training on sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual harassment policy. It is important to note that the city clarifies on its site that “the templates provided are meant to be expanded and tailored to meet the individual needs of employers.” This is important for compliance with the sexual harassment laws, as providing the PDF programs to your employees will not meet the time requirements necessary for compliance with Chicago’s sexual harassment law.  

Among the basic content requirements under the Chicago harassment law, employers must provide training that has updated Chicago definitions of “sexual orientation” and “sexual harassment” (including sexual misconduct), as well as examples of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, a summary of local, state and federal laws on sexual harassment, and a summary of the responsibilities of employees and supervisors concerning sexual harassment in Chicago.  

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Why Syntrio’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is Your Best Source of Compliance with Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements in Illinois

Employers Use Syntrio’s Illinois Sexual Harassment Training Courses to Comply with the Chicago Sexual Harassment Training Ordinance

The City of Chicago has stated that providing training compliant with Illinois sexual harassment training law will be sufficient for the first year of compliance with the non-supervisory one-hour sexual harassment training requirement (but not the bystander sexual harassment training requirement). From there, Chicago employers must provide training that complies with the specifics of Chicago’s harassment training law.  

Syntrio’s Chicago sexual harassment training courses are designed to follow the Illinois harassment training law (and vice/versa). However, the same cannot be said for Syntrio’s Illinois courses, which are designed for those Illinois employers without Chicago employees and are shorter in length. Should your organization have Chicago and non-Chicago employees in Illinois, our sales team will work with you to determine which of our courses best suits your needs.

Syntrio Has a Bystander Sexual Harassment Training Course?

Syntrio has industry-leading bystander training that complies with Chicago sexual harassment training law. The course expands upon the coverage of the Chicago template training course to cover the four categories discussed therein: 1) What is sexual harassment? 2) What is bystander intervention? 3) When should I intervene? And 4) How can I intervene in a safe, productive, and active way?  

Syntrio’s sexual harassment bystander training course not only exceeds the content scope of the Chicago model course, but it is also fully compliant with the one-hour time requirement. This course is considered a companion to the Chicago sexual harassment prevention course. Still, it does not assume knowledge, giving the employer the flexibility to provide this education at a different point in the cycle than the sexual harassment prevention training course for your Chicago workforce.

Syntrio’s Chicago Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Chicago Bystander Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Differs from the Model Courses?  

Per the instructions from the Chicago Commission on Human Rights, Syntrio has taken the information in the model training programs (both sexual harassment prevention and bystander sexual harassment prevention), digested them, conducted further expert research on sexual harassment law in Chicago, and produced a wholly new set of products that incorporate all aspects of the Chicago model sexual harassment programs.  

Syntrio’s courses improve upon the Chicago model sexual harassment training documents by providing more in-depth examples (based on real-life issues), interactive material to enhance the user experience, and greater attention to cultural improvement and employee mental and physical well-being. Syntrio has taken this approach, given its industry-leading expertise in providing harassment training in Chicago (and across the United States and the globe) for more than 25 years.  

What are the Recordkeeping Requirements Under the Chicago Harassment Training Law? 

Under the Chicago sexual harassment training requirements, employers must keep written records of compliance with the sexual harassment training and bystander sexual harassment training components, as well as a record of the distribution of reported sexual harassment policies to employees for “the longer of five years or the duration of any claim, civil action, or investigation.” 

What are the Penalties for Non-Compliance with the Chicago Anti-Harassment and Sexual Harassment Training Law? 

Chicago’s harassment training ordinance increased the penalty for violations of its sexual harassment law (including the training provisions) from $5000 to $10,000 per violation from $500 to $1000 per violation. Given the amount of attention placed on expanding the law from that which already existed in Illinois, it is clear the city will be looking to enforce its sexual harassment training requirements vigorously.  

Bystander Awareness and Intervention for Chicago

This training for Chicago, Illinois, expands upon the requirements of a Chicago Human Rights Ordinance. This course teaches safe and positive actions a person or a group of people may take to prevent harm or intervene where there is a risk or perceived risk of sexual harassment to another.

  • Recognizing situations of potential sexual harassment situations and risks.
  • Understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate sexual harassment.
  • Recognizing the inhibitions to bystander intervention and overcoming them.
  • Identifying safe and effective intervention options.
Syntrio - Bystander Awareness and Intervention - Bystander Intervention and Awareness for Chicago

The pillars of our harassment training program involve the following:

Workplace Civility & Respect Training
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training
Employment Discrimination and Workplace Fairness Training
Illinois Sexual Harassment Training
Speak Up and Listen Up Training

Chicago sexual harassment training should not occur just once every year. Instead, it should be a consistent program that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the health and safety of its employees. By providing training that goes above and beyond the legal requirements that may be present in a state, the organization can show its workforce that it not only cares that they do not face liability for an incident but are committed to improving workplace culture and respecting the loyalty, its workforce has shown by respecting and caring for the well-being of everyone working within the organization. 

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