All employers in Illinois must provide sexual harassment training to all employees each year. On August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 75, the Workplace Transparency Act, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act. In addition to requiring annual sexual harassment training, the law makes other major changes to Illinois harassment and discrimination laws. These changes are described below.
Annual Sexual Harassment Training Requirement
- Effective January 1, 2020, all employers must train all employees in Illinois each year. The first deadline is January 1, 2021.
- The annual required sexual harassment training program must include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment
- Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment
- A summary of federal and state statutory provisions, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
- A summary of the responsibilities of employers for prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
- Employers who do not provide compliant training will be subject to civil penalties, including a $500 penalty to businesses with less than 4 employees, or a $1,000 penalty to those with 4 or more employees. Penalties for subsequent violations can rise to $5,000 per violation.
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In addition to the training requirements, among other things, the new law makes the following changes:
- Independent contractors. SB 75 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to protect not just employees but also independent contractors from harassment and discrimination.
- Disclosures. The new law requires employers, labor organizations, and local governments to disclose to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) the total number of final adverse administrative or judicial decisions involving sexual harassment or discrimination in the previous year entered anywhere in the U.S. Employers must make the disclosure beginning July 1, 2020 and each July 1 thereafter. Employers may also be required by the IDHR to disclose during an investigation the total number of settlements involving sexual harassment and discrimination claims entered into during the previous five years anywhere in the U.S.
- Non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement clauses, and mandatory arbitration agreements. SB 75 places significant restrictions on the use of these types of agreements for cases involving harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.
- Victims Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA). The law expands VESSA to allow victims of domestic, sexual, or gender violence to take unpaid leave to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance without penalty, if requested. A victim of workplace harassment could be entitled to such leave.
- Bar and restaurant owners. Owners of restaurants and bars are now required to provide sexual harassment training annually to all employees (regardless of employee classification), available in both English and Spanish. The training must be specifically aimed at the prevention of sexual harassment in the restaurant and bar industry. Such employers must also provide employees with the company’s sexual harassment policy and instructions on how to report sexual harassment incidents within the first week of hire.
- Casino and hotel owners. By July 1, 2020, owners of hotels and casinos are required to provide portable safety notification devices (at no cost) to employees who frequently work alone in restrooms, guest rooms, casino floors, or other isolated spaces. The safety device must allow them to call for help if they fear their safety or witness sexual assault or harassment.
- Casino and hotel owners must also provide all employees with a current copy of the hotel or casino’s anti-sexual harassment policy (including reporting procedures and the prohibition against retaliation) and post the policy in clearly visible areas of the hotel or casino, both in English and Spanish.
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Why Use Clear Law Institute’s Online Sexual Harassment Training?
Hundreds of employers rely on Clear Law Institute to provide online sexual harassment training to their employees across the country, given that our training:
- Complies with all 50 states’ laws, including Illinois
- Provides users with the ability to ask questions and have those questions answered within two business days, as required by some state laws
- Is kept up-to-date with any changes in the law at no additional charge
- Utilizes cutting-edge instructional design principles
- Efficiently tracks who has and who has not completed the training each year, handled by Clear Law’s Learning Management System. This prevents employers from having to collect and track certificates manually.
Clear Law Institute’s online course, Positive Workplace: Preventing Harassment and Bullying, is used by hundreds of employers across the nation, including numerous Fortune 500 companies. Learn more about the online harassment training and view a free course demo.