Governor Mandates Public Entities Enact Policies Prohibiting Sexual Harassment by January 15, 2018

  On November 16, 2017, Governor Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0554, which amends the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act by requiring local governmental entities to adopt, by ordinance or resolution, a policy prohibiting sexual harassment.  5 ILCS 430/70-5.  Although many governmental entities may already have sexual harassment policies in place, the law sets forth new minimum standards for all policies.  According to the new amendments, a policy prohibiting sexual harassment shall include, at a minimum:

  • a prohibition on sexual harassment;
  • 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;
  • a prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations, including availability of whistleblower protections under this Act; and
  • the consequences of a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment and the consequences for knowingly making a false report.

     For purposes of the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, “governmental entity” is defined as “a unit of local government (including a community college district) or a school district but not a State agency or a Regional Transit Board.” 5 ILCS 430/1-5.  This would include, but not be limited to municipalities, counties, townships, park districts, school districts, and community college districts.  All governmental entities should review their current sexual harassment policies to ensure that they meet the minimum standards and were properly approved by either resolution or ordinance by the January 15, 2018 deadline. To view the full Act, see Public Act 100-0554