New Illinois Law Strengthens Existing State Law on Workplace Sexual Harassment

On November 16, 2017, Governor Bruce Rauner signed new legislation into law to strengthen existing state law on workplace sexual harassment. The amendment required that all local units of government update their harassment policies by January 15, 2018. At minimum the updated policies must:

·         Prohibit sexual harassment

·         Provide details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment, including options for making a confidential report to a supervisor, ethics officer, Inspector General, or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

·         Prohibit retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations and allow claims of retaliation to be filed under the Stat Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Whistleblower Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

·         Detail the consequences of violating the prohibition against sexual harassment and knowingly making a false report.

The Illinois Human Rights Acts was also amended to require the Illinois Department of Human Rights to create a sexual harassment hotline by February 16, 2018. The hotline will provide individuals with a way to anonymously report sexual harassment. The hotline will also connect callers to counselors or other resources, assist in the filing of sexual harassment complaints and it may recommend that an individual seek the advice of an attorney.

If you have questions about this new Law and how it may affect you call Joe Messer at 312-334-3440 or write Joe at jmesser@messerstrickler.com.   Joe will be glad to discuss the matter with you at no charge.