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.

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Photo of Steven J. Pearlman Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract…

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract; and restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). Steven is also at the forefront of defending whistleblower retaliation claims, and routinely conducts investigations arising from whistleblower reports. He has successfully tried cases to verdict in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He has also testified in defense of his investigations in federal court.

Photo of Edward Young Edward Young

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation and the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Groups.

Eddie’s practice focuses on defending companies in all aspects of employment litigation, including…

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation and the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Groups.

Eddie’s practice focuses on defending companies in all aspects of employment litigation, including claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, breach of restrictive covenants (e.g., noncompetition and nonsolicitation), and whistleblower retaliation. He has handled such cases before state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the American Arbitration Association and the Department of Labor.