The deadline for employers to complete sexual harassment training in Illinois is coming up.
All private employers in Illinois are required to train workers by Dec. 31, 2020, and annually in the future. Likewise, all employees must receive the training. That includes interns and part-time workers, as well.
State officials have provided a model sexual harassment prevention training template. However, employers can create their own so long as it meets or exceeds the provisions of the law, which went into effect in 2019.
“We cannot combat rampant sexual harassment in the workplace without substantive and accessible education,” said Jim Bennett, director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). “The release of IDHR’s model sexual harassment prevention training is a major step in ensuring that every working person in Illinois understands the seriousness of sexual harassment. I urge all Illinois employers — small businesses and major corporations alike — to use this resource.”
With so many employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should take steps to ensure all workers receive the training by the end of the year.
Illinois Sexual Harassment Training
At a high level, the minimum standards for sexual harassment training in Illinois include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment
- Examples of unlawful sexual harassment
- A summary of applicable federal and state provisions concerning sexual harassment, including support available to victims of sexual harassment
- A summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation and “corrective measures” of sexual harassment
For newly hired workers, employers are urged to have them complete training as soon as possible. Employees must be paid for the time it takes to complete the training.
Meanwhile, restaurants and bars in Illinois must provide supplemental training and establish a sexual harassment policy.
Non-compliance can result in fines for offending employers. Businesses must also keep a record of trainings, which can be either a certificate or signed acknowledgement from the employee.
Sexual Harassment Training Nationwide
In recent years, a number of states have crafted new sexual harassment training laws in response to the #MeToo Movement.
These #MeToo laws expand beyond sexual harassment to include equal pay, salary history bans and more. Along with this added layer of compliance comes an added level of scrutiny for employers, as violations of these laws often bring media attention and potentially negative headlines.
Multi-jurisdiction employers should review current policies and procedures.
Employers in Illinois have a tight window to ensure all their employees receive sexual harassment training by the end of 2020.
Of course, the training will be required each year moving forward. Creating a process to remain complaint with Illinois’ sexual harassment training law will remain paramount in the future.