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Finally! The Illinois Department Of Human Rights Has Posted Helpful Information About Their Upcoming Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Module!

Under the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act, ALL Illinois employers are now legally required to train every employee each calendar year. This new law became effective on January 1, 2020. By December 31, 2020, Illinois employers must have trained all their employees.

Every employer with employees working in the State of Illinois (even if the employer has only one employee) must provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees annually.

ALL EMPLOYEES REGARDLESS OF STATUS MUST BE TRAINED: Employers are required to train all employees, including short term employees, part-time employees and interns as well as regular full-time employees.

IDHR'S FREE TRAINING WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON: Many clients have been asking when the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) will offer the promised model sexual harassment prevention training. According to the IDHR's website, the model training will be available to download online free of cost in February 2020.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS: The IDHR website notes that employers are not required to train independent contractors. But the website also states: "It is strongly advised that independent contractors receive training if they are working on-site at an employer's workplace or interact with the employer's staff."

RECORDS OF TRAINING: Per the IDHR website, employers are required to keep a record of all training. The record can be a certificate or a signed employee acknowledgement or course sign-in worksheet. The records may be paper or electronic. Such records must be made available for IDHR inspection upon request.

ACCESSIBLITY: If employees have disabilities or speak a language other than English, employers must train employees in a manner that is "accessible to them."

TRAINING OUTSIDE OF REGULAR HOURS: Also noted on the IDHR website, if an employer requires an employee to take training outside their regular hours (for example, on their personal phones or laptops before the start of a shift), those employees must be paid for their time.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS MUST PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTAL TRAINING: Every restaurant and bar, as defined under Section 2-110 of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA"), is required to provide all employees with annual "supplemental" sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-110 of the IHRA. (This is in addition to the sexual harassment prevention training required of all Illinois employers.)

CIVIL PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY: Any employer who fails to provide the mandated annual sexual harassment prevention training is in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Employees can file a complaint by calling the IDHR to report their employer's failure to provide such training. Failure to comply can result in the IDHR imposing a civil penalty on the employers.

These are just some of the key points of the much more detailed information currently posted on the IDHR's website.

For questions about legally mandated sexual harassment prevention training, contact Attorney Nancy E. Joerg who can be reached at Wessels Sherman's St. Charles, Illinois office: 630-377-1554 or email her at [email protected].

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