As we wrote earlier this year, every employer with employees working in Illinois is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training that complies with the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) recently released a model sexual harassment prevention training program that meets the IHRA’s requirements.
Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training program so long as they meet or exceed the minimum training standards outlined in Section 2-109(B) which include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
- 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.
Restaurants and bars are required to provide employees with “supplemental” sexual harassment prevention training. This is in addition to the sexual harassment prevention training required of all employers under Section 2-109. This supplemental 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.
Employers who have one or more employees must provide a sexual harassment prevention training that meets the above criteria to their employees by December 31, 2020, and then annually thereafter by December 31. Any employees who work or will work in Illinois must be trained, regardless of whether the employer is based in Illinois. If an employee is based elsewhere but regularly interacts with other employees in Illinois, even if they are not physically present in Illinois, the IDHR takes the position those employees should also be trained. The IDHR provides two examples:
Example 1: Supervisor A works for ABC company in another state (e.g., Indiana, California, Florida, etc.) and supervises employees of ABC who work in the State of Illinois. Supervisor A should receive sexual harassment prevention training compliant with the IHRA even though Supervisor A is employed in another state.
Example 2: Employee B works for ABC company in another state (e.g., Indiana, California, Florida, etc.) and will be working on a temporary basis with employees of ABC in Illinois. Employee B should receive sexual harassment prevention training compliant with the IHRA even though Employee B’s home employer is in another state.
In an effort to avoid potential civil penalties, employers should ensure their sexual harassment prevention training complies with the standards outlined in the IHRA and the IDHR’s recently published model sexual harassment prevention training program. It is also critical for employers, if they have not already done so, to begin preparations to provide the requisite training to their employees by December 31, 2020.