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Monday, November 20, 2017

Local Governments Must Formally Adopt Sexual Harassment Policies


Last week, the Governor signed into law P.A. 100-0554. The new law requires local governments to take formal action to adopt sexual harassment policies. Within 60 days of the effective date of the new law, each unit of local government must adopt an ordinance or resolution establishing a policy to prohibit sexual harassment. 

The policy must include, at a minimum, the following provisions:

1. A prohibition on sexual harassment.
2. The procedure for reporting an allegation of sexual harassment.
3. A prohibition on retaliation for reporting an allegation of sexual harassment.
4. The consequences for violating the sexual harassment policy and for knowingly making a false report.

While most units of local government probably already have a sexual harassment policy in place, it is important that government entities review existing policies for compliance with the new statutory requirements and take formal action to adopt or ratify the sexual harassment policy by resolution or ordinance. According to the General Assembly's website, the law's effective date is November 16, 2017, meaning that local governments have until January 15, 2018 to adopt an ordinance or resolution approving a policy that complies with the new law.

The new law also contains a number of other regulations relating to sexual harassment, including training requirements for state officials and lobbyists, as well as other regulations. The language pertaining to the new policy requirements for local governments language is set out below:
No later than 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 100th General Assembly, each governmental unit shall adopt an ordinance or resolution establishing a policy to prohibit sexual harassment. The policy shall include, at a minimum: (i) a prohibition on sexual harassment; (ii) 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 Department of Human Rights; (iii) a prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations, including availability of whistleblower protections under this Act, the Whistleblower Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act; and (iv) the consequences of a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment and the consequences for knowingly making a false report.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf

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