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Bystander Intervention in Chicago: What Employers Need To Know About New Training Requirements

Proper employee training on topics regarding sexual harassment and workplace safety are of utmost importance to companies all over the globe. Information learned during these sessions may seem like common sense, but without the right education, people can be vulnerable to potentially harmful situations.

Companies all over the country should do everything they can to ensure their team members know how to respond when they or someone they know is being sexually harassed.

As of July 1, 2022, employers in Chicago have new sexual harassment training requirements with which they must comply. While these additions to employee instruction are not astronomical, adhering to them is very important.

If you’re unsure what obligations you must now follow or want to know where to get the right materials for your company, this blog can be your guide.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The Chicago City Council has implemented new employer regulations, mandating extensive training for employees and employers on sexual harassment prevention and how bystanders should respond in the event of an incident. The new training requirements took effect on July 1, 2022, meaning employers have to complete the annual training for the 2022 and 2023 years by June 30, 2023. These rules are in addition to Illinois’ training requirements, so any employer in the Chicago area must conform.

Companies that fail to comply with the increased educational requirements could be fined anywhere from $500 to $1,000, with each day out of compliance constituting a separate fine.

New Training Requirements

It’s critical to fully understand what’s expected of you and your company before thinking about training your employees.

The city’s new training requirements state that the term “employee” now means ‘any individual who’s engaged to work within the geographical boundaries of the City of Chicago for or under the direction and control of another to earn a profit.’ This includes hybrid or remote employees working for a Chicago-based business.

It also makes slight changes to the definition of the term “sexual orientation” and adds a new provision to the Human Rights Ordinance.

Updated training requirements include:

  • Employees must receive a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training every year, and supervisors must have a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training annually.
  • Employers must implement a minimum of one hour of bystander intervention training for every worker each year.
  • All Chicago employers must have a written policy on sexual harassment. This statement should be comprised of the definition of sexual harassment, a description of the training requirements, examples of prohibited conduct, details on how an individual can report misconduct, and any other essential information regarding this topic employees should be aware of.

Bystander Intervention Training Best Practices

Bystander intervention training for coworkers, supervisors, managers and other team members is an effective tool for addressing and preventing harassment. By educating your employees, you can empower them to use their voices and step in when they see sexual harassment happening in the office.

Some methods for training include:

Team discussions

While this topic is heavy and may seem difficult to talk about in a large group setting, having the opportunity for your employees to discuss it with one another can be beneficial. Pose different questions to the group and give individuals plenty of time to talk through their answers if they feel comfortable sharing. This is a great way for each team member to see one another as an ally and learn how best to support the people around them.

Professional instruction from a live trainer

If you, as an employer, would rather a professional take the lead on instructing your workforce, a live trainer is another good option. This person can give necessary details and provide insight in an interactive and engaging way.

Instructional webinars

A scheduled webinar on the topic can be advantageous for employers who would rather not have a physical training session but would like everyone to learn the information simultaneously. Whether it’s one training session or multiple spread out throughout the year, using live coaching can give employees a chance to ask questions without having to leave their office.

Online training videos

The most flexible option is online training videos that you and your team can access anytime, anywhere. This resource provides individuals with the necessary information to stay compliant and respond to situations in the best way possible.

People can watch the videos at their own pace while still meeting the required deadline of July 1 by using an extensive online video library. The freedom to view courses ensures employees don’t have to adjust their schedule to participate. It also allows individuals to concentrate on the important details without being distracted by other tasks.

Accessible Training for the Modern Workforce

Today’s workforce needs education for a variety of work styles. Whether your team is remote, fully in-person or hybrid, an available collection of in-depth videos can be the perfect solution.

Mastery Training Services offers businesses on-demand training videos to extensively cover the subject at large and be accessible to everyone on your staff, no matter where they’re located. This course will make certain every employee acknowledges and comprehends how to identify harassment and participate in bystander intervention to keep their workplace safe.

Topics covered in this class include:

  • Understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate sexual harassment.
  • Recognizing potential sexual harassment.
  • Overcoming barriers to intervening.
  • Safe and effective intervention options.
  • Non-employees and non-work situations.
  • Employer responsibilities.

Receive the benefits of an in-person training program with the versatility of an online webinar, all from the comfort of your home or office, anywhere in the world. The date to finalize sexual harassment training is quickly approaching. Not only will this course enable your team to go through these topics in a timely manner so they’re prepared for any situation, but it will also ensure your organization remains compliant.

Are you ready to employ the best-possible training solution to ensure that your team learns vital information and stays compliant with new Illinois ordinances? Check out our bystander intervention training today.