Recent changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) require all Illinois employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees by December 31, 2020, and once per year thereafter – and tasked the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) with creating a model sexual harassment training program employers could use to meet that requirement. After several delays, the IDHR released its model sexual harassment prevention training program along with an FAQ. Now that we have the IDHR’s model training, all Illinois employers should begin planning on how they will administer the training to all employees – including part-time employees, short-term or temporary employees, interns, and so on – especially since the IDHR announced that it will not extend the December 31, 2020 deadline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers may wish to develop or continue using their own anti-harassment training, especially if it covers more than just sexual harassment prevention. They are free to do so, provided the training includes the following:
An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
A summary of relevant state and federal laws 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 restaurants and bars have additional obligations, including an explanation of the internal complaint process available to employees and information on how to contact and file a charge with the IDHR and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Otherwise, as long as the training is accessible for employees with disabilities or with limited English proficiency, there is no required format. The training may be live or recorded, there is no minimum or maximum duration, and it need not be interactive.
Employers must keep records demonstrating compliance with the sexual harassment prevention training requirement, either electronically or in paper format. The records should, at a minimum, include:
Names of the employees who received training;
Training date and location;
Sign-in worksheets, signed employee acknowledgements, certificate of participation, etc.;
A copy of all written/recorded materials used in the training; and
CHANGES TO ILLINOIS EMPLOYMENT LAWS: NEW MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT
TRAINING, REPORTING AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS ON EMPLOYMENT
AGREEMENTS, & SEVERAL OTHER MANDATES
ATTENTION Illinois employers of ALL sizes… Are you ready? Today (August 9, 2019), Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 75 – the Workplace Transparency Act – into law. Effective January 1, 2020, major new changes will forever alter how Illinois employers manage harassment and discrimination issues as well as other workplace controversies.
fact, the changes will require ALL employers to update their training
practices, key policies, personnel forms, severance agreements and arbitration
agreements. The changes will also impact how (and IF) employers will
voluntarily resolve employment disputes or litigate such disputes not only in
Illinois but anywhere in the United States.
changes coming to Illinois include:
the use of employment policies or other agreements intended to prevent an
employee from reporting sexual harassment, such as non-disclosure agreements,
arbitration clauses, and non-disparagement clauses for cases involving
harassment, discrimination and retaliation. No such agreement can prevent an applicant, employee
or former employee from reporting unlawful or criminal conduct to a government
agency. Also, a mandatory arbitration provision is void if it’s a compulsory,
unilateral condition of employment or continued employment. Finally,
strict confidentiality in any settlement or severance agreement is only valid
IF: the provision is expressly preferred by the individual; expressly allows
the individual to have the document reviewed by an attorney of their choosing;
valid consideration is provided; there is no waiver of claims following the
effective date; and it provides 21 days to the individual to consider the
agreement and 7 days to revoke signature after execution (regardless of age).
harassment and discrimination against bona fide independent contract workers
illegal under the IL Human Rights Act.
that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if they are perceived to
be part of a protected class (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), even
if they are not.
the Victims Economic Security & Safety Act (VESSA) to allow victims of
gender violence to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, legal
assistance, counseling, safety planning and other assistance. Therefore, workplace harassment
could, in theory, trigger VESSA rights in ways not contemplated before.
a union representative from representing both a victim of sexual harassment and
the alleged harasser in a disciplinary proceeding.
ALL employers, labor organizations and units of local government to disclose
the number of final, non-appealable adverse administrative or judicial
decisions of sexual harassment and discrimination against them (entered
anywhere in the U.S.) to the Illinois Department of Human Rights beginning July
1, 2020 and each July 1 thereafter.
ALL employers, labor organizations and units of local government to disclose
the number of private settlements that involve sexual harassment and
discrimination claims, entered anywhere in the U.S. in the previous 5 years, to
the Illinois Department of Human Rights if requested to do so.
ALL employers to annually train their employees on preventing sexual
Department of Human Rights is required to make a model sexual harassment
training program available for employers to provide to their employees.
Training shall include: an explanation of sexual harassment; 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; and a summary of
responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective
measures of sexual harassment.
mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination policy distribution to ALL
employees of restaurants and bars (NOTE: “restaurants” and “bars” are broadly
defined) within the first week of starting employment, as well as,
anti-harassment training. The
anti-harassment training that restaurants and bars must conduct differs from
that of other sectors and must include sections on conduct, activities, and/or
videos related specifically to the restaurant and bar industries; an
explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law; and be
available in both English and Spanish.
the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act which will require ALL hotels and
casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make safety devices aka
panic buttons available to certain employees by July 1, 2020. The anti-sexual harassment policies
must have specific language and provisions that include language, amongst other
items, that the complaining employee is permitted to cease work and leave the
immediate area if he/she perceives danger until hotel or casino personnel or
the police arrive to provide assistance, as well as, provisions that give the
employee paid time off to file a police report or criminal
complaint against the offending guest and/or testify as a witness against the
75 is a BIG game changer for employers in Illinois and requires a review and
revision of employment contracts, arbitration, severance and settlement
agreements, employee handbooks and training programs. It is imperative that
companies and HR professionals work with their legal team to develop policies,
procedures and strategies to ensure compliance. Also, litigation risk
tolerance and one’s general appetite to resolve controversies should be
evaluated closely as well in light of the new disclosure and reporting