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Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Illinois Employees

Must all Illinois employers provide this training?

Every employer with one (1) or more employees working in the State of Illinois is required to provide their staff with sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-109 of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA").

In addition to the training required under Section 2-109, restaurants and bars are also required to provide supplemental sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-110 of the IHRA.

What is the deadline to train my employees?

Training must be completed annually by December 31st.

Are employers required to train short-term employees, part-time employees, or interns?

Yes, all employees regardless of their status (i.e. short-term, part-time, or intern) must be trained.

Are employers required to train independent contractors?

No, employers are not required to train independent contractors.  However, the Illinois Department of Human Rights strongly advises that independent contractors receive training if they are working on-site at an employer's workplace or interact with the employer's staff.

If my employee has been trained elsewhere, do I need to provide additional training?

Employers are encouraged to retrain their new employees, regardless of whether the employee received the required training at a prior place of employment.  Employers must independently retain their own records to show that all employees received the required sexual harassment prevention training.

Employers may ask employees to provide documentation that they completed the training elsewhere. However, employers are responsible for ensuring the training received elsewhere is compliant with the IHRA.  If the employer is unable to obtain the proper documentation, employers must have the employee retrained.  Again, the employer is responsible for demonstrating all employees completed the annual training.

How does the training requirement apply to employees and employers based outside of Illinois?

Any employees who work or will work in Illinois must be trained, regardless of whether the employer is based in Illinois.  If an employee is based elsewhere but regularly interacts with other employees in Illinois, even if they are not physically present in Illinois, they should be trained.

  • Example 1:  Supervisor A works for ABC company in another state (e.g., Indiana, California, Florida, etc.) and supervises employees of ABC who work in the State of Illinois.   Supervisor A should receive sexual harassment prevention training compliant with the IHRA even though Supervisor A is employed in another state.  
  • Example 2:  Employee B works for ABC company in another state (e.g., Indiana, California, Florida, etc.) and will be working on a temporary basis with employees of ABC in Illinois.  Employee B should receive sexual harassment prevention training compliant with the IHRA even though Employee B's home employer is in another state.

What documentation is an employer required to maintain regarding the sexual harassment prevention training?

Employers are required to keep a record of all trainings. Such records must be made available for IDHR inspection upon request.

This record may be a certificate or a signed employee acknowledgement or course sign-in worksheet.  The records may be paper or electronic.

How soon must new employees be trained?

Employers should provide training to new staff as soon as possible after hire and then annually thereafter by December 31.  Employers are encouraged to train employees as soon as possible because employers are liable for the sexual harassment conduct of new employees upon their hire. 

Can an employer require its employees to take the training outside of work?

If an employer requires their employees to take the training outside of their regular hours – for example, on their personal phones or laptops before the start of a shift – they must be paid for their time.

What if employer does not inform employees about the training or never requires that employees take it?

Failure to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). 

Employees can anonymously report their employer's failure to provide a training by contacting the IDHR.

Are there additional requirements for restaurants and bars?

Yes, every restaurant and bar, as defined under Section 2-110 of the IHRA, is required to provide employees with "supplemental" sexual harassment prevention training that complies with Section 2-110 of the IHRA.  This is in addition to the sexual harassment prevention training required of all employers under Sections 2-109. 

Section 2-110(C) minimum supplemental training standards include:

  • specific conduct, activities, or videos related to the restaurant or bar industry;
  • an explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law; and
  • English and Spanish language options.