Written by Jonathan M. Rosenthal
The State of Illinois now requires all employers with at least one employee working in Illinois to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training. Employers must provide required training by December 31, 2020, and by December 31 of each subsequent year. If you have not yet provided this training in 2020, you may use the Powerpoint presentation linked at the bottom of this page.
Employers must train all employees who work or will work in Illinois and regardless of whether employees are short-term, part-time, and interns. It matters not whether the employer is located inside or outside of Illinois. The State encourages, but does not require, training for employees who do not work in Illinois but regularly interact with employees located in Illinois. Employers are not required to train independent contractors.
Employers are encouraged, though not required, to retrain employees who were previously trained elsewhere in the same calendar year. To forego duplicate training with new employers, such employees are required to provide documentation to confirm that they completed training with their former employers. If no documentation is provided, then employers must retrain such employees. Likewise, employees who are concurrently employed elsewhere need not receive multiple trainings but must provide proof of training completion to the employers from whom the employees need not receive duplicate training. Employers must provide training in a way that is accessible to employees with disabilities or those with limited English proficiency.
The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) has developed prevention training which can be found at the bottom of this page. Employers may develop their own training that equals or exceeds the minimum standards set out in the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). Employers may use third-parties or existing staff to provide training.
All prevention training must include the following:
- An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with this Act.
- Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment.
- A summary of relevant federal and State statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
- A summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
Additionally, restaurants and bars must establish and disseminate a written policy on sexual harassment prevention training. The policy must be provided to employees in writing within the first calendar week of the employee’s employment and include the following:
- A prohibition on sexual harassment.
- The definition of sexual harassment.
- Details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment internally, including options for making a confidential report to a manager, owner, corporate headquarters, human resources department, or other internal reporting mechanism that may be available.
- An explanation of the internal complaint process available to employees
- How to contact and file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- A prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations.
- A requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training.
IHRA additionally requires bars and restaurants provide supplementary training that must include:
- Specific conduct, activities, or videos related to the restaurant or bar industry.
- An explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law.
- English and Spanish language options.
Employers are required to maintain records of all trainings that must be made available for IDHR upon request. Training records may be certificates of completion or a signed employee acknowledgment or course sign-in worksheet. Employers may keep paper or electronic records.
For more information, you can visit IDHR’s website at www.illinois.gov/dhr/training.