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Illinois Human Rights Act Amendments

There were three key changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act, effective January 1, 2020. The three key changes are as follows:

  1. Expanded prohibition of harassment and discrimination
  2. Requires employers to report on adverse judgments and settlements
  3. Requires employers to provide annual sexual harassment training
    1. Specifics of sexual harassment training requirements
      1. Model training program by IDHR will be available at no cost
      2. Training must include:
        1. Explanation of sexual harassment
        2. Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment
        3. Summary of relevant state and federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment and the remedies for violations of those laws
        4. Summary of the employer’s responsibility to prevent, investigate, and correct sexual harassment
      3. Complete training before December 31, 2020 and each year thereafter

    Below are more in-depth explanations of these changes.

    The first change was to expand the prohibition of harassment and discrimination for unwelcome conduct based on “actual” or “perceived,” the change was adding “perceived.” In addition, this now protects contractors and consultants.

    The second one requires employers to annually report on adverse judgements and settlements, in other words disclose all reports of discrimination and harassment to IDHR. These disclosures are now required, and employers will need to provide at least 5 years of settlement agreements to IDHR. In these reports, the victim cannot be identified.

    The third change is employers are required to provide annual sexual harassment training and there are additional training requirements for restaurants and bars. All employees (new hires, fulltime, temp, part time, and interns) will need annual training. The employer will need to keep track of employees that went through the training. In person training is not required but is recommended; it can be a computer-based training. Employers do not need to provide training to their contractors working for them. There will be additional training requirements for the bar and restaurant industry. A few examples are, training must be in English and Spanish, written sexual harassment policy must be provided within the first week of employment, etc.

    Additional information on Minimum Standards for Policy on Sexual Harassment Prevention for Restaurants and Bars can be found by clicking here.

    Click here for an FAQ on Sexual Harassment Prevention from the Illinois Government.