Illinois employers need to be aware of the new mandatory sexual harassment training requirements in 2020. The state’s new Workplace Transparency Act requires that all employees receive sexual harassment training on an annual basis and some jobs, such as those in restaurants and bars industry, require additional specialized training.
Cramer Law understands these new requirements from both the employer and the employee standpoint. This is a sweeping new requirement, and one that a professional can assist in ensuring compliance.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Workplace Transparency Act requires that all Illinois employers train all employees in Illinois on an annual basis. Employers have until January 1, 2021 to complete the sexual harassment training, but the act also states that new employees must be trained within 90 days of their start date. Having those training materials ready to go for new-hires is very important.
The training program that applies to most employees must include at a minimum:
- An explanation of sexual harassment;
- Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
- A summary of the relevant federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
- A summary of the employer’s responsibilities to prevent, investigate and correct sexual harassment in the workplace.
In addition, bars and restaurants must provide specialized sexual harassment training. That additional training must include:
- specific conduct, activities, or videos related to the restaurant or bar industry;
- an explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law; and
- English and Spanish language options.
Policies on sexual harassment need to be created and provided to all employees, in writing, within the first calendar week of the employee’s employment. The policy shall include:
- a prohibition on sexual harassment;
- the definition of sexual harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- 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; and a requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training.
Again, the policy must be made available in English and Spanish.
The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act requires the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) to create a model training program and make it available online at no cost to employers. The IDHR’s model sexual harassment prevention training program may be used to supplement any existing program an employer is utilizing or develops.