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IDHR’s Model Anti-Harassment Training A Reminder to Illinois Employers to Complete Training by December 31

Labor & Employment Publications

Last summer, the Illinois General Assembly enacted SB 7, which introduced sweeping changes to Illinois law intended to combat sexual harassment. One of the new mandates included in that legislation was a requirement that all employers provide annual anti-harassment training to all Illinois employees, with the first compliance period ending December 31, 2020. The law required the Illinois Department of Human Rights to develop and release a model anti-harassment training program that employers could use to satisfy this requirement.

IDHR initially promised that it would release the model training by the end of February 2020. That date was pushed back to the end of March and later to the end of April 2020. Now, at long last, IDHR has released its model training, available from the agency’s website. Employers that have not yet conducted harassment training for the 2020 compliance period have just eight months to do so.

The training takes the form of a series of 35 PowerPoint slides, which employers can read to employees to satisfy the basic anti-harassment training mandate for all employers. Note that restaurants and bars must provide additional anti-harassment training.

While the IDHR training will satisfy the minimum legal requirement for Illinois employers, employers can and should conduct their own training. Each employer’s needs are different. However, employers should strongly consider the following when designing their anti-harassment training programs:

  • Training is ideally conducted by a live trainer who is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with issues of workplace harassment and who can bring credibility to the presentation.
  • Training should be interactive and as participatory as possible, both to maintain audience engagement and to ensure that employees can obtain answers to their questions.
  • While the Illinois training mandate and the model training materials are limited to sexual harassment, the training should include all forms of illegal harassment under federal, state, and local law.
  • Training should be tailored to the specific workplace, with examples that are relevant to the employees.
  • Training content should be reviewed by experienced employment counsel to confirm that it complies with the requirements of applicable law.

Franczek regularly conducts anti-harassment training for clients. Our attorneys have trained thousands of employees in all types of workplaces, both in person and via webcast. We also regularly assist employers in developing in-house training programs by developing and reviewing training content and providing “train the trainer” sessions for in-house trainers. With many employees working remotely, content can be presented via an online platform, allowing employers to complete this state law requirement during the stay-at-home order. Please do not hesitate to contact any Franczek attorney for assistance with your anti-harassment training needs.