Ask an HR Expert: Anti Harassment Training in Illinois

Hello and thank you for joining me for another episode of Ask an HR Expert. My name is Katie Stewart and I am with Tandem HR.

Today’s question is: What are the new requirements in 2020 for harassment training in the State of Illinois?

If you do business in the State of Illinois you’ve most likely by now heard that there are new regulations that require Illinois employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis. Prior to this, there were no regulations requiring consistent training. It was recommended that a business provide the training once every two years.

The new regulation also indicates changes in the number of employees that an employer has to have in order to be required to follow this regulation. Previously, if an employer had 20 or more employees to be covered under the harassment laws. Now, the employer only needs one or more employees to be held to these regulations. This includes contractors.

So, annual training is the biggest thing to remember. This does go into effect as of January 1, 2020.  There are also some requirements that come along with this type of training. It can be done online or in-person but it does have to be interactive. So the employee cannot just sit there and click through a PowerPoint presentation. The training needs to involve asking them questions to make sure they are really retaining and understanding the information. It also needs to provide examples of what sexual harassment looks like in the workplace.

Two additional requirements are that it needs to summarize the federal and state laws that prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and it needs to define what the employer’s responsibilities are under the law and how your policies correspond.

If you fail to comply with these requirements, there are penalties under the law that range from $500 – $5,000 per violation depending on the size of your organization. Bars, restaurants, casinos, and hotels have different requirements under the law. If you are in one of those industries, make sure that you look at the training requirements for you specifically.

One other big change to this law is the definition of discrimination. It expands to include discrimination and harassment based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, race, or other protected status. Illinois is not the only state that is making changes in these areas, so make sure you discuss changes with your HR department or your compliance counsel to ensure your training is compliant.

If you have any other questions about anti-harassment training, please reach out to Tandem HR at  630.928.0510.

Thank you for joining me for Ask an HR Expert.