Flossmoor updates harassment policy to meet new state guidelines

At its Dec. 18 meeting, the Flossmoor Village Board approved a new policy defining and prohibiting harassment among village employees.
The Illinois General Assembly recently passed an ordinance requiring all municipalities to either adopt a harassment policy if they lack one, or update their existing policy to meet new standards.
Assistant Village Manager Allison Deitch explained at the meeting that Flossmoor already had a policy that primarily covered sexual harassment and the new policy is greatly expanded.
The new policy includes protections against harassment “whether verbal, physical or visual that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual based upon that person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, military status or unfavorable discharge from military service (except dishonorable) or any other protected status under applicable local, state or federal law.” 
Many more groups of people are covered by the new policy and it also details the process of addressing a harassment complaint.
“We previously did have a policy, but it was not as comprehensive as this,” Deitch said at the meeting. “The new policy includes details on how individuals can report harassment; it has a prohibition on retaliation for reporting harassment, along with consequences of retaliation and of making a false report.”
The policy needs to be in effect by Jan. 15, 2018. The village beat that deadline by a month, with the new policy taking effect immediately. Deitch said the new guidelines will be distributed to all village employees, and the village will also schedule a training session for employees. 
“This brings us up to snuff as far as current anti-harassment policies,” Mayor Paul Braun told the village board. “It also now makes it applicable to us, as elected officials.”

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