The Illinois General Assembly has amended the Illinois Human Rights Act (the “Act”) to require Illinois employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020 and annually thereafter. Restaurants and bars are further required to establish and disseminate a written policy on sexual harassment prevention training and provide “supplemental” sexual harassment prevention training. The sexual harassment training program must meet or exceed the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention training outlined in the Act.
This new requirement broadly applies to all employers who have one or more employees. Such employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to their staff.
Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training programs provided they meet or exceed the minimum training standards outlined in the Act, which include:
- an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the Act;
- examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
- a summary of relevant statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
- a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
- Illinois employers are required to keep a record of all trainings. Such records must be made available for inspection by the Illinois Department of Human Rights upon request. This record may be a certificate or a signed employee acknowledgement or course sign-in worksheet.
Failure to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training is a violation of the Act. Employees can file a complaint by calling the IDHR’s office at (312) 814-6278. Employees can anonymously report their employer’s failure to provide a training by calling the IDHR’s compliance line or by completing an online inquiry form.
The IDHR has stated that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must still provide the requisite training by December 31, 2020, and every calendar year thereafter by December 31. Under the Act, any employer that does not comply will be issued a notice to show cause, which will give the employer 30 days to comply. Failure to comply within 30 days will result in the IDHR petitioning the Illinois Human Rights Commission “for entry of an order imposing a civil penalty against the employer.”
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, or if you have any questions about sexual harassment, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. at 312-357-1431 for a free, confidential consultation.