In August 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Workplace Transparency Act, which makes major changes to discrimination and harassment laws in Illinois. It mandates employers to require annual sexual harassment training for their employees, beginning on January 1st, 2020. The first major deadline is January 1st, 2021.
Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
Sexual Harassment Training in Illinois will have to include the following to be compliant with the new law:
- A clear definition of what sexual harassment is,
- Examples of conduct considered to be sexual harassment,
- A listing of state and federal provisions and resources for sexual harassment victims,
- A summary of the employer’s responsibilities regarding prevention, investigation, and corrective action in sexual harassment cases.
- There are additional requirements for restaurant and bar owners, as well as the casino and hotel industries.
Companies who employ independent contractors need to know that they are now also protected from harassment and discrimination under the new law. Independent contractors and freelancers will now require the same mandatory training that regular full-time employees receive.
Employers who do not provide proper training will be subject to fines. Employers with four or fewer employees may be fined $500 for the first offense, $1000 for the second, and $3000 for each following offense. Employers with more than four employees may be fined $1000, $3000, and $5000 in fines, respectively.
What should employers do?
There are many things that employers can do to make sure they are following the law. Illinois employers should take the time to get familiar with the new law. Review and update your company’s employee handbook, specifically the section on workplace harassment.
Employers should evaluate if current policies are being enforced. If a company does not have a policy in place, then this would be the best time to begin to develop one. XCEL works with client companies to ensure that workplace policies are in place and fully compliant with the law.
Most importantly, companies should hold all employees accountable and not tolerate any actions that may be hateful or offensive for whatever reason.
For more information on this topic, reach out to the XCEL Human Resources department!
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