Ethena Illinois Sexual Harassment Training Course Primer
Just because Illinois is home to The Windy City doesn’t mean it blows smoke. In fact, The Prairie State talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to supporting the folks who work there. Here are the latest Illinois sexual harassment laws regarding harassment in the workplace.
What’s Illinois’s Sexual Harassment law?
The Illinois Human Rights Act, codified at 775 ILCS 5/2–109, as amended by Illinois Public Act 101-0221, prohibits sexual harassment.
Did you know? Ethena launched in 2020 with Harassment Prevention training. Check out our course page for more information about bringing compliance training for today’s teams to your organization.
What is Sexual Harassment in Illinois?
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when: submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment, and submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making decisions about your employment; or such conduct interferes with your job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
A person can be the victim of sexual harassment regardless of the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation, or the perpetrator’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, sexual harassment takes one of two forms: quid pro quo or hostile work environment.
What is Hostile Work Environment or Quid Pro Quo harassment? Read more on our Sexual Harassment 101 Page.
In Illinois, employers are liable and responsible for…
Preventing, Investigation, and Correcting incidents of sexual harassment in their workplaces.
Companies are strictly liable for sexual harassment perpetrated by managers, regardless of whether or not the employer knew of the harassment. Employers are also liable for sexual harassment perpetrated by an employee (co-worker) or nonemployees (vendors) only if the employer knew or reasonably should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt corrective action.
As of July 1, 2022, The city of Chicago has expanded the definition of sexual harassment, requires companies to have a written policy on sexual harassment, and mandates annual sexual harassment training (plus an additional 2 hours of training, 1 hour specifically for Bystander Intervention training, for managers/supervisors).
Reporting Sexual Harassment in Illinois
What happens after you report sexual harassment to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)?
You may file an inquiry with The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) in person or in writing using the Complaint Information Sheet.
If you have any questions, please call (312) 814-6222 or email IDHR.ReportSH@illinois.gov. Complaints must be filed no later than 300 days after the discrimination took place.
Note that the EEOC and the IDHR have a work sharing agreement so you only need to file with one agency as long as you indicate with your filing agency that you wish to cross-file between the two.
How do I file a report in Chicago specifically? To file a report with the City of Chicago Human Rights, you can file online, through email or fax (312-744-1081), or mail or personally submit your report to the Commission office at 740 N. Sedgwick, Suite 400, Chicago, IL, 60654.
After IDHR completes its investigation, the Complainant (the employee):
- May file a lawsuit in civil court, or
- May file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission (HRC) if IDHR found “substantial evidence” of a violation.
Remedies may include:
- Back pay
- Lost benefits
- Clearing of a personnel file
- Front pay where reinstatement is not possible
- Attorney’s fees and costs
Why Harassment Training Needs to Happen
Harassment is pervasive. A 2018 Pew survey found that if you haven’t personally experienced sexual harassment at work, you likely have a friend or colleague that has. 59% of women and 27% of men reported experiencing sexual harassment. Of those that reported experiencing sexual harassment, 69% of women and 61% of men experienced it at work or both at work and outside of work.
Being a victim of harassment profoundly hurts a person at work, including lower job satisfaction and a higher intention to leave the workplace, and can extend to physical and emotional health.
Disrespectful conduct at work is bad for you and your workplace.