Illinois Department of Human Rights Releases Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training


On April 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) released its much-anticipated model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training program for Illinois employers in compliance with Public Act 101-0221 (commonly referred to as the Workplace Transparency Act). Every employer in Illinois is required to provide all employees (including interns, short-time or part-time workers, and independent contractors working on-site with employer’s staff) with sexual harassment prevention training that complies with section 2-109 of the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”).

Employers must either develop their own sexual harassment prevention training program that equals or exceeds the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention training outlined in Section 2-109(B) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), or they may use the model training provided by the IDHR. The training must include: 

  • An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
  • 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 responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.

The model training issued by the IDHR is comprised of 35 slides. It sufficiently covers the law and all required topics. However, employers should note that one third of the training presentation is directed at the issue of reporting harassment; there are only three slides directed at examples of sexual harassment; and there is no interactive component, which would allow discussion and input from trainees. Simply put, the model training is heavy on the law and light on the application of the law to any workplace environment. Therefore, employers should consider whether this is the best training option available for their employees.  

Illinois restaurants and bars are subject to additional compliance requirements as well as supplemental minimum requirements and standards for sexual harassment training. A supplemental training model for restaurants and bars is forthcoming.

For any training provided pursuant to the new law, employers must keep a paper or electronic internal record of training compliance to be made available for IDHR inspection upon request. These records may include certificates of participation, signed employee acknowledgments, or training sign-in worksheets. A record of training should include the names of employees trained, the date of training, the sign-in worksheets, copies of certificates of participation issued, and a copy of all written or recorded materials that comprise the training. It should also include the name of the training provider, if applicable.

Our Labor and Employment team is ready to assist with any questions or with creating and implementing sexual harassment prevention training to comply with the Illinois Human Rights Act.

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