Great news! The long-awaited model for the required Illinois sexual harassment training program has been released by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). Back on August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 75, the Workplace Transparency Act, which amended the Illinois Human Rights Act, making it an annual requirement for employers to provide sexual harassment training to all employees working in Illinois. The condition went into effect on January 1, 2020 with a deadline of December 31, 2020, and annually after that. The IDHR just announced that it will not be extending the deadline even with the COVID-19 pandemic and expects all employees working in the state to have the required training completed by the original deadline. Employers who do not provide the training as outlined by the required deadline will be subject to civil penalties.
Guidance on the training requirements was released back in January by the IDHR. The now published training model is available online and is free to employers. The model reflects the minimum requirements and training standards for employees working in Illinois, and it was released to help all organizations meet the new training requirements. Although there is no formal format for this training, the sample training PowerPoint was published as a guide for use by employers.
Keeping in mind this model contains the minimum requirements, employers can use the model to deliver their training and are free to modify the model to fit their needs or develop their own training program as long as it equals or exceeds the minimum standards as outlined in the IDHR’s model.
The training model can be found here.
- Must be conducted annually;
- Must be followed by employers with one or more employees working in the State of Illinois. Any employees who work or will work in Illinois must be trained, regardless of whether the employer is based in Illinois;
- Training must be provided for all employees, regardless of their status (full-time, part-time, seasonal, or interns);
- No format requirement for the training – the training does not need to be interactive or presented in a live setting;
- The training must be provided in a way that is accessible to staff. This means, if employees have disabilities or speak a language other than English, employers must train employees in a manner that is accessible to them;
- Employers are required to keep a record of all training, and those records must be made available for IDHR inspection upon request;
- Training can be administered in-house or by a third-party.
TRAINING CONTENT REQUIREMENTS
The training must include the following:
- An explanation of sexual harassment as defined by the IDHR;
- Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
- A summary of federal and state statutory provisions, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
- A summary of the responsibilities of employers for prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
Employers in the restaurant and bar industry have additional training requirements:
- Establish a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide a copy to all employees that meet or exceed the minimum requirements set forth by the IDHR;
- Training must be provided in Spanish and English and include industry-specific conduct, activities, or videos containing an explanation of managers’ responsibility and liability.
WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS DO?
Employers with operations in Illinois or who have employees working in Illinois should take steps now to ensure compliance with the training requirements.
- Develop or review a sexual harassment training program
- Identify methods for conducting the training
- Create a training schedule
- Appoint trainers and owners for program
- Develop training attendance tracking methods
- Educate and train all human resource personnel and management staff, as well as provide trainings on the program requirements
For additional information on the Workplace Transparency Act and Illinois Sexual Harassment Training requirements or help with developing and delivering your training program, contact our compliance expert, Karlie Hinman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Human Capital Management consultants at sikich.com.