ILLINOIS SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING REQUIREMENTS 

Sexual Harassment Training in Illinois:

Effective January 1, 2019, ALL businesses must provide

          – Sexual harassment prevention training to ALL employees             
Training must be completed by December  31, 2020.  Illinois sexual harassment training of new hires should be trained immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible and must be renewed once EVERY year.  

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What is Sexual Harassment?

According to EEOC and Illinois Workplace Transparency Act define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser.

The following is a partial list of prohibited behavior:

  • Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters.
  • Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs and jokes. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual.
  • Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements.
  • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Making or threatening retaliatory action after receiving a negative response to sexual advances.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • A harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.
Who needs to take Illinois sexual harassment training?

Employers having one or more employees must train all supervisors in Illinois, as well as non-supervisory employees in Illinois. A supervisor is anyone with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees. Additionally, a supervisor is also anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment. 

Part-time, seasonal, temporary and independent contractors are counted towards the “1 or more persons” AND are required to receive training (independent contractors are advised to receive the training).

What is the deadline for employees to be trained?

ALL employees (not including independent contractors), supervisors and non-supervisors, should be trained immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible and must be renewed once EVERY year. 

Why should I receive training? 

Sexual harassment complaints and lawsuits are on the rise.  The sooner you and your business receive prevention training, your business will be able to recognize, better handle and the mitigate, reduce or eliminate the risk of workplace harassment complaints.  Education and training also increases awareness, morale, and productivity.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. It should be clearly communicated to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. One clear step is by providing Illinois sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.  (EEOC)  

What happens if I completed my training on 6/1/2019?

According to the law, you will need to renew your training by 6/1/2020.

When do new hires and new supervisors need to be trained by?

As employers may be liable for the actions of employees should be trained immediately upon hire or date of promotion, the State encourages training as soon as possible. Employers should distribute the policy to employees at the time of hiring as part of a notice, which also includes training materials.

My business employs seasonal and temporary employees, do they still need to be trained? 

“Employee” includes all workers. regardless of immigration status.  Employee also includes exempt or non-exempt employees, part time workers, seasonal workers, and temporary workers. 

Who is considered a Supervisor?

A supervisor is anyone with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees. In addition, a supervisor is anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment.    Supervisors are not necessarily required to take a additional training, but we recommend the 2 Hour Supervisor Training as supervisors have a greater responsibilities.

What content must be covered in the training?

According to the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act and State Guidelines, any training must explain the following:

  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act  and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Relevant statutes and case-law prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
  • Different types of conduct that can be sexual harassment;
  • Any remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment;
  • Practical examples of harassment;
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
  • Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it;
  • How employers must correct harassing behavior;
  • What to do if a supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
  • The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
  • “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).
  • Discuss harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, which shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
What should I do if I experience a sexual assault, sexual violence, or other criminal acts?

If you experience sexual harassment that rises to the level of violence or assault, you should immediately contact law enforcement. Please see the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR):

 

  • For information on how to file a complaint, visit: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sexualharassment/Pages/Reporting.aspx
  • You can call State of Illinois Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Helpline (877) 236-7703
Who is a qualified trainer?

There are three types of qualified trainers:

1. Attorneys who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;

2. Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in: 

      • Designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention;
      • Responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints;
      • Investigating sexual harassment complaints; or
      • Advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention.

3. Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or Illinois teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act or Title VII.

Neither Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)  nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.

 

 

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