A little over a year has passed since an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act was signed into law. It is important for any nonprofit or business to make sure they comply with the new training requirements which provides that employers must now provide sexual harassment prevention training. The Illinois Human Rights Act lists the following requirements:
Employers Must Provide Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Every employer with employees working in the State of Illinois is required to provide all employees with annual sexual harassment prevention training that complies with the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training program that meets or exceeds the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention training as outlined the IHRA, or they may use the model sexual harassment prevention training, at no cost, developed by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”).
The following organizations are exempt: “employer does not include any place of worship, religious corporation, association, educational institution, society, or not-profit nursing institution…”
Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Employers may develop their own sexual harassment prevention training programs provided they meet or exceed the minimum training standards 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 stator 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.
Additional Compliance Information
- Supplemental Training. For the purposes of satisfying the requirements the Act, employers may use IDHR’s model sexual harassment prevention training program to supplement any existing program an employer is utilizing or develops.
- Deadline to Train Employees. Employers must train employees by December 31, 2020 and on an annual basis thereafter.
- Civil Penalty. Any employer that is in violation of the Act will be issued a notice to show cause giving the employer 30 days to comply. Failure to comply within 30 days will result the IDHR petitioning the Illinois Human Rights Commission for entry of an order imposing a civil penalty against the employer.
- Internal Record of Compliance. Employers should keep an internal record of compliance which evidences the employer meets the minimum prevention training standards. Some ways to keep a record of this is through: certificates of completion; signed employee acknowledgement forms; copy of written or recorded materials; a record showing which employees were trained; date of training; and sign-in worksheets.
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, all workers have the right to employment free from sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination. In Illinois, it is a civil rights violation under the Act for an employer to fail to include in a posting on the premises AND in an employee’s handbook, information concerning the rights of employees to be free from unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace; file a charge of discrimination or sexual harassment; and obtain certain reasonable accommodations such as those based on pregnancy and disability.
With the year coming to an end, it is important to stay in legal compliance. Employers should make sure all employees, including seasonal workers and interns, receive the proper training. Even new hires should receive the sexual harassment training. Please contact us ff you have questions about complying with the Act and the mandatory sexual harassment training requirement.