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West Suburban Business Leaders Discuss How To Handle Sexual Harassment Complaints

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- West Suburban business leaders have been told to take complaints of sexual harrasment from or about employees seriously, even if the behavior doesn't, at first, sound that serious.

Officials with the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce wants their business members to be prepared to handle complaints about possible sexual harassment or sexual abuse.

At a Lisle luncheon, lawyer Leah Setzen stressed that it's not enough to declare zero tolerance for harassment. She said there need to be policies in place and employees must know how to make complaints.

And Kevin McCarthy, Dean of Student Affairs at North Central College, said businesses must act on the complaints.

McCarthy only half joked when the panel was asked where do you draw the line on what constitutes sexual harassment, besides the legal definition? "No hugging," he shouted. But, then said it's not really that simple. Lawyer Leah Setzen agreed, saying the line may be different for different companies and people.

"Physical touching may be a little bit more clear that that makes people uncomfortable, than someone making a compliment, but sexual harassment does have a definition. It is specific," Setzen said.

David Carpenter, Vice President of Human Resources at Securitas USA said he's never heard a good excuse in official proceedings for inaction. He said his company handles lots of complaints, and he said his office never dismisses any of them. There can be no complaint too small.

McCarthy said the #MeToo movement has made it easier for employees to talk about sexual harassment.

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