Frequently Asked Questions
Beginning January 1, 2020, Illinois employers with one or more employees must comply with the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act, Public Act 101-0221. This Act includes an amendment of the Illinois Human Rights Act requiring sexual harassment prevention training of employees on an annual basis.
Who needs to comply with the Act?
All Illinois employers.
Pursuant to Section 2-101(B)(1)(b) of the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/2-101(B)(1)(b), in the context of sexual harassment, the term “employer” is defined as “Any person employing one or more employees when a complainant alleges civil rights violation due to unlawful discrimination based upon his or her physical or mental disability unrelated to ability, pregnancy, or sexual harassment.”
The only exception is for religious organizations.
Who must attend the training?
All Illinois employees.
Pursuant to Section 2-101(A) of the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/2-101(A), the term “Employee” includes:
- Any individual performing services for remuneration within this State for an employer;
- An apprentice;
- An applicant for any apprenticeship.
- Unpaid interns in most circumstances.
How often must employers provide sexual harassment training?
At least once a year to all employees. 775 ILCS 5/2-109(C).
What content must be in the training?
Sexual harassment training must include, at minimum, the following:
- an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the Act;
- 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.
775 ILCS 5/2-109(B).
Are employers required to use a particular source for training?
No. The Illinois Department of Human Rights will produce a model sexual harassment prevention training program aimed at the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are permitted to use the model program or establish their own sexual harassment prevention training program that equals or exceeds the minimum required standards.
Why should employers hire OKGC for sexual harassment prevention training?
OKGC employment lawyers have over 25 years’ experience litigating sexual harassment claims in state and federal court as well as before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights as well as Illinois Human Rights Commission. This experience includes trying sexual harassment lawsuits in front of juries throughout the State of Illinois.
OKGC attorneys have also regularly provided live sexual harassment prevention training to employers for over 25 years. Those sessions are highly engaging, informative, and more stimulating and thought-provoking than online training only. Attendees will hear examples of actual situations that have occurred at Illinois workplaces and solutions for how to address problematic behavior.
Should we always have live training?
OKGC does not believe in a one size fits all approach. Each employer has different needs and concerns. As a result, OKGC will also offer online training. It is best to contact an OKGC attorney to discuss your individual needs and concerns to develop a program for complying with the law.
What if an employer does not provide annual sexual harassment prevention training?
Employers who do not comply with this law will be issued a notice to show cause giving the employer 30 days to comply. If the employer does not comply within 30 days, the Illinois Human Rights Department will petition the Illinois Human Rights Commission for entry of an order imposing a civil penalty against the employer. 775 ILCS 5/2-109(D).
Those penalties are as follows:
- For an employer with fewer than 4 employees: a penalty not to exceed $500 for a first offense; a penalty not to exceed $1,000 for a second offense; a penalty not to exceed $3,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
- For an employer with 4 or more employees: a penalty not to exceed $1,000 for a first offense; a penalty not to exceed $3,000 for a second offense; a penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
775 ILCS 5/8-109.1(B).
Are there special rules for restaurants and bars?
Yes. The Act contains a separate provision for restaurants and bars which requires that in addition to the regular sexual harassment training, restaurants and bars must have supplemental training in consultation with industry professionals specifically aimed at the prevention of sexual harassment in the restaurant and bar industry. This 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.