The Committee on Workplace Development and Audit within the Chicago City Council voted to amend the Municipal Code to mandate that hotel employer to provide its employees with mobile panic devices when they work in and around bathrooms and guest rooms.
This new ordinance was enacted in largely based on survey responses indicating that nearly 60 percent of hotel employees in Chicago reported incidents of sexual harassment by guests and supervisors. The ordinance has been described as the “Hands Off Pants On” anti-harassment ordinance, according to the Chicago Tribune.
What the New Ordinance Does
Hotel employers will now need to meet the following new requirements to ensure their employees are safe from sexual harassment:
- As mentioned, offer employees a panic button, the cost of which cannot be passed on to the employee, which can be used to alert proper authorities of sexual assault or harassment.
- Create a policy that is meant to provide protection for employees against sexual assault and harassment. This policy must encourage employees to report instances of sexual harassment by guests, set forth procedures that the complaining employee can follow which may include letting the employee leave the workplace and immediate area of danger is perceived until hotel security or Chicago police arrive;
- Distribute a copy of their hotel’s anti-sexual harassment policy to all employees;
- Post the anti-sexual harassment policy in open and accessible areas of the hotel where employees would be reasonably expected to see it.
What Happens If Employers Violate This Ordinance
If you are an employee who reported a harassment incident and the employer violates this new ordinance, the employer could be subjected to a monetary fine for each violation. According to the ordinance, every day a violation is allowed to continue constitutes a distinct and separate offense.
This ordinance was passed by Committee and is likely to be signed into law by the City Council. If this happens, the law will be effective within ninety days of signature.
Speak to a Chicago Employment Lawyer Right Away
As you can see, if you are an employee who has been subjected to sexual harassment, you have legal avenues to hold a negligent employer accountable for not providing a safe workplace. If you have questions or concerns about how your legal rights after a harassment incident, speak to an experienced Chicago employment lawyer with Goldman & Ehrlich today.