Libraries to Be Required to Adopt Sexual Harassment Prohibition Policy

December 7, 2017

Senate Bill 402, as enrolled as Public Act 100-0554, requires every governmental unit to adopt either an ordinance or resolution establishing a policy to prohibit sexual harassment by January 15, 2018. The new law requires four items to be contained within a sexual harassment policy: 1) a prohibition on sexual harassment; 2) 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; 3) 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 4) the consequences of a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment and the consequences for knowingly making a false report.

If a unit of local government does not have a policy against sexual harassment, it needs to formally adopt one, either by resolution or ordinance, by January 15, 2018 and it must contain the four pieces of information found in the above paragraph.

If a unit of local government currently has a policy against harassment, but for whatever reason, it does not contain some of the mandated information, it must change its harassment policy to include all four information prongs by January 15, 2018.  If a change to a current policy is made, formal board action must be taken to adopt the new policy or ordinance.  

If a unit of government's policy contains the four enumerated requirements found above but was never formally considered and approved by one's board--it must do so by January 15, 2018.  

The Illinois Municipal League has developed sample Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment; a model ordinance adopting the Policy, and a highlighted copy of the Act. See pages 24 and 25 of the Act specifically, which pertain to government entities. These policies and samples are written for municipality, town, or village adoption, but can be easily amended to replace the named entity with "library" or "library district." 

Many thanks to ILA's Legislative Consultant Derek Blaida for his work on this issue.

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