Chicago Alderman Proposes Sex Harassment Training for All City Employees

There’s a new push to take on sexual harassment across Illinois. As training was slated to begin Wednesday for lawmakers in Springfield, talks began on introducing a similar plan at Chicago City Council.

Alderman Margaret Laurino, of the 39th Ward, announced Wednesday that she will introduce an ordinance requiring all city employees to undergo sexual harassment training.

Legislators approved several bills during veto session Tuesday, amending ethics rules and creating task forces in each chamber aimed at curbing harassment and responding to allegations.

The scramble to address the culture at the Capitol came after the revelation that a lack of a legislative inspector general left three years of complaints uninvestigated.

Former U.S. Attorney Julie Porter was tapped for the role Saturday, promising to review 27 complains that were filed while the position was empty.

One of those complaints was made against state Sen. Ira Silverstein, an allegation that his accuser revealed publicly at a hearing last week. The Chicago Democrat has denied the accusations, and quickly lost his leadership position.

Three candidates for governor from his own party – state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzer, and Chris Kennedy – have issued calls for Silverstein to resign.

Those calls were made as lawmakers prepare to undergo sexual harassment training Wednesday – though some noted it was not mandatory.

At City Hall, Laurino said her proposal would require training for all municipal employees, including the mayor, city clerk, city treasurer and aldermen.

“This is not unlike the mandatory ethics training we have in place for all city employees,” Laurino said in a statement. “The sexual harassment training will help clarify any ‘gray areas’ as well as send a regular message to city personnel that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

The ordinance would require everyone to take the training yearly, and would carry a fine between $200 and $750 if it is not completed.

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