New Requirements and Clarification for Illinois Employers on Sexual Harassment Prevention Law
On January 31, 2020 the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) provided guidance to Illinois employers required to implement the sexual harassment prevention measures mandated by the Workplace Transparency Act. The Workplace Transparency Act went into effect as of January 1 of this year.
The Act requires employers to train all employees by December 31, 2020 and each year thereafter. The Act further requires restaurants and bars to adhere to further mandates by disseminating a written policy on sexual harassment within the first week of hire and provide additional, industry-specific standard anti-harassment training.
The IDHR provided clarification for some of the requirements of the Act by recently publishing several informational “handouts” on the Minimum Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Standards.
The IDHR also published FAQs regarding the new employer mandates. The FAQs address which workers must be trained, stating that short-term, seasonal, temporary employees and any employee outside of Illinois who perform work or regularly interact with the employer’s Illinois employees should be trained, even if based in a location outside of the state of Illinois.
Notably, the FAQs also clarify that employers are not required to train independent contractors, but the IDHR strongly advised employers to train independent contractors who will work on-site at the employer’s workplace or interact with the employer’s staff.
Employers must also retain records of the employees who have received the required training and may be required to provide those records to the IDHR upon request.
Employers in Illinois working to meet the new mandates now have another resource for information and details regarding the new requirements under the Act.
Employers should evaluate their workforce to ensure all categories of workers, even those outside of Illinois with regular contact with Illinois employees, are being trained appropriately and within the mandated timeframes.
The IDHR’s guidance is available at www.illinois.gov/IDHR/training.