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How to Meet Illinois Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

December 26, 2019
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On August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 0075, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act. This law requires employers in the state of Illinois to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to their employees.

If you’re a business owner, human resources director, or organization executive trying to parse the legalese of SB 0075, Impact Compliance Training is here to help. This reference guide will underscore the details about upcoming deadlines, employer requirements (and special requirements for bars and restaurants), and how to train employees without computer access.

Getting Started with SB 0075

It’s important to think about meeting the Workplace Transparency Act as more than just another legal hurdle. By minimizing sexual harassment situations in the workplace, public and private organizations can foster a healthier, more inclusive corporate culture, which in turn:

  • Boosts Employee Morale
  • Decreases Legal Liability
  • Improves Productivity
  • Improves Talent Acquisition
  • Increases Customer Retention
  • Increases Employee Retention

The bottom line is, preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is the right thing to do. Pritzker’s goal in implementing SB 0075 is to encourage employers to adopt and actively enforce company policies that foster a safer workplace.

SB 0075 Requirements

Starting January 1, 2020, every employer in Illinois must use training in consultation with industry experts that meets or exceeds the Illinois model sexual harassment prevention minimum standards, which include:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the definition as outlined in SB 0075
  • 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
  • A summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment

Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis. If you own a bar or restaurant, there are some additional requirements:

Bars and Restaurants: Meeting SB 0075

Starting July 1, 2020, every restaurant and bar operating in Illinois must provide a sexual harassment policy to all employees, in writing, within the first calendar week of the employee’s start date. The policy shall include:

  • A prohibition on sexual harassment
  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment internally, including options for making a confidential report to a manager, owner, corporate headquarters, human resources department, or other internal reporting mechanisms that may be available
  • An explanation of the internal complaint process available to employees
  • How to contact and file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • A prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations
  • A requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training. The policy shall be made available in English and Spanish

Every restaurant and bar needs to use the supplemental model training program developed by the Department of Human Rights designed specifically for the industry, or implement its own supplemental training in consultation with industry professionals. This must include:

  • Specific conduct, activities, or videos related to SB 0075 for the restaurant or bar industry
  • An explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law
  • English and Spanish language options

Training Employees without Computer Access

From construction workers to restaurant servers, nearly 65 million working American adults are without daily computer access. This limited access creates a serious HR challenge for businesses in Illinois that are required to provide harassment prevention training to their employees. To ensure you’re able to meet the requirements of your state and to reach those without regular computer access, Impact Compliance Training (ICT) created:

Mobile-Friendly eCourses

While computer access may be limited, more than eight in ten U.S. adults own smartphones. Through a streamlined self-registration process, each employee will receive a course access code that will enable him or her to efficiently complete Illinois-compliant courses from a smartphone or tablet.

Facilitator-Led Courses

ICT courses are developed and supported by subject matter experts and can be projected onto a screen in a group setting. Because of this, your facilitator doesn’t need to be a sexual harassment prevention specialist. Once your employees have completed the group session, you or your human resources department will send a course completion list to your training provider who will maintain training records in the learning platform as required by state law.

Kiosk Courses

It can be challenging to arrange a group session. To minimize the barriers of training your employees, you can opt to set up an in-expensive PC that can be used as a computer kiosk. With a self-registration process and course access code, no email is required to take the training.

Penalties for Failure to Train

If you violate the training requirement, the Department of Human Rights will issue a notice and give you 30 days to comply. If you don’t comply within 30 days, you’ll receive a civil penalty of up to $5,000.

OffensesFewer Than Four EmployersMore than Four Employees
First Offense
Second Offense
Third Offense
$500
$1,000
$3,000
$1,000
$3,000
$5,000

Elevate Company Culture

Remember, it’s not just about meeting compliance mandates. It’s about fostering a respectful and inclusive work environment where every employee can excel and feel safe.

To create a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination, contact Impact Compliance Training to learn about our online and in-person sexual harassment prevention training courses. Our programs are effective, engaging, and tailored to exceed Illinois training mandates. Visit our contact page to request a free course trial.

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If you would like to learn more about ICT's interactive online compliance training, check out our free course trial.