Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Illinois Sexual Harassment Law

A new ruling about sexual harassment was released by the Illinois Supreme Court that an employer is responsible for sexual harassment by an employee who happens to be a supervisor. This ruling makes Illinois employers train supervisors and managers to prevent sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

In Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department v. Illinois Human Rights Commission, the judge ruled on April 16, 2009 that the employer was strictly liable for any manager’s or supervisor’s actions.

In a 4-2 ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the sheriff’s department could be held strictly liable in such circumstances.

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, “The issue in this case is whether an employer is strictly liable under [the IHRA] for the ‘hostile environment’ sexual harassment of its supervisory employees, where the supervisor has no authority to affect the terms and conditions of the complainant’s employment. The answer is yes.” The court added that the employer is reasonable for the harassment by the supervisor.

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