Illinois Employers Must Provide Sexual Harassment Prevention Training By December 31, 2020 and Annually Thereafter
Illinois employers must provide annual sexual harassment prevention training. The Illinois Legislature amended the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) to create this requirement, as well as expand the class of persons protected by harassment laws, impose reporting requirements, and limit the use of confidentiality clauses. The law also required the Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) to develop a model training program, which it issued on April 30, 2020.
Regarding the required sexual harassment prevention training, the employer’s sexual harassment prevention training program contain, at a minimum: (1) an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA; (2) examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment; (3) a summary of relevant federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and (4) a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
There are additional requirements for the restaurant and bar industries. Within the first week of an employee’s employment, these employers must provide a written anti-harassment policy available in English and Spanish languages. The mandatory training must also address issues which are specific to these industries.
While this law focuses on sexual harassment, other types of harassment are no less problematic. The IDHR model training is the baseline but should be modified accordingly.
Non-employees now covered by Employer policies
The IHRA now permits non-employees in the workplace, such as contractors and consultants, to bring harassment claims. Accordingly, employers should educate this class of persons as if they were employees. Most importantly, these persons must know the employer’s complaint procedure.
As of July 1, 2020, employers must report annually to the IDHR any adverse judgments involving discrimination claims in the prior year.
Confidentiality Agreements in Settlement or Separation Agreements
The IHRA now bans certain confidentiality clauses in agreements unless the agreement contains language similar to waivers under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.
The attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC have assisted employers across many industries to develop and implement compliant and effective anti-harassment policies and training programs. For more information on the amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act, and for assistance with developing and implementing policies and training programs and modifying agreements to comply with the new requirements, contact the experienced attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC. We can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (312) 494-1000.