On April 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (the “IDHR”) published its model sexual harassment prevention training program, a copy of which is available here.

As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to train employees on sexual harassment prevention by December 31, 2020, and on an annual basis thereafter.  This requirement applies to all employers with employees working in Illinois.

To satisfy this requirement, employers must either use the model training published by the IDHR or develop their own sexual harassment prevention training that includes at least the following minimum requirements:

  • An explanation of prohibited sexual harassment consistent with Illinois law;
  • 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 employers’ responsibilities concerning prevention, investigation, and corrective measures with respect to sexual harassment.

The IDHR’s recently published guidance also reminds employers of their obligation to maintain records related to compliance with these training requirements, such as: sign-in sheets, copies of written or recorded materials, names of employees who attended the training, and certificates of completion or signed employee acknowledgements.

Also, Illinois restaurants and bars, which are subject to additional requirements, are required to provide supplemental training.  The IDHR has not yet published this supplemental training program.

Considering that many Illinois employees are currently working remotely and relying on on-line and virtual communications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is noteworthy that the definition of “sexual harassment” in the Illinois Human Rights Act was recently amended to expressly apply to working environments beyond the physical location at which employees perform their assigned duties.

*          *          *

Proskauer’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures, practical steps businesses can take and resources to help manage ongoing operations.