Sexual harassment is considered discrimination. It is prohibited by both Illinois and federal laws. Unfortunately, not everyone complies with the laws designed to keep our workplaces safe. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were just under 100,000 harassment complaints between 2018 and 2021.
In an effort to combat the ongoing problem of workplace sexual harassment, the city of Chicago has expanded sexual harassment laws and anti-harassment training requirements. Chicago companies are now requiring bystander training that teaches people how to prevent, recognize, and report harassment.
Teaching People to Intervene on Behalf of Sexual Harassment Victims
A bystander is someone who notices potential sexual harassment. For example, an employee may overhear a watercooler conversation in which a worker is making offensive sexual remarks to another employee. Or, a manager may notice that one of his or her subordinates is clearly uncomfortable sitting next to a certain individual during all-staff meetings. Perhaps a female employee goes to another female employee for advice after a male supervisor will not stop asking her out on dates.
It can be hard to know how to respond to these types of situations. The Chicago Commission on Human Rights hopes that the new bystander training will provide employees and employers with more tools to fight workplace sexual harassment.
Know Your Rights as a Sexual Harassment Victim or Bystander
Many people who have experienced sexual harassment or have seen others being sexually harassed are afraid to report the harassment. They are afraid that they will get fired, denied a raise, or face other adverse work-related consequences. Luckily, federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file a sexual harassment complaint, participate in a sexual harassment investigation, or refuse to follow orders that result in discrimination against a protected class.
If someone is retaliated against because they spoke up about sexual harassment as a victim or bystander, they may be entitled to legal remedies, including back pay and other compensatory damages.
Contact an Illinois Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawyer
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against someone for reporting sexual harassment, being a witness in a sexual harassment lawsuit, or taking part in a sexual harassment investigation. If you were the victim of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, contact MKFM Law for help.
Our Wheaton sexual harassment attorneys know that discussing issues related to sexual harassment can be uncomfortable. Our professional, compassionate legal team can provide the legal support you need.
Call us today at 630-665-7300 for a private case assessment.