The Mandatory Training and Disclosure Requirements under the Human Rights Act
By Daniel W. Myerson
In addition to creating new forms of liability for employers under the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), Public Act 101-220 has instituted mandatory new disclosures and annual trainings under the IHRA, with which every employer must comply.
Annual Disclosures of Adverse Harassment or Discrimination Judgments or Rulings. Every July 1, from 2020 until 2030, every employer in Illinois must annually disclose information about every adverse judgment or administrative ruling involving sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination to the Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”). 775 ILCS 5/2-108(B). This is not limited to judgments or rulings under the IHRA. Rather, it includes the IHRA, Title VII, or any other federal, state, or local law prohibiting sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination. 775 ILCS 5/2-108(A). The judgments or rulings themselves need not be produced, but an employer must distill information about them for the IDHR. 775 ILCS 5/2-108(B). Failure to report is subject to civil penalties. 775 ILCS 5/2-108(F).
Ability to Demand Information on Settlements. In addition, while an employer is not affirmatively required to annually disclose information about settlements, the amendments to the IHRA allow the IDHR to demand such information. When the IDHR investigates an IHRA charge, it may now request information about any settlements in the past 5 years relating to allegations of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination. 775 ILCS 5/2-108(C). The settlements themselves need not be produced, but an employer must distill information about them for the IDHR. Id. Unlike the disclosures of adverse judgments or rulings, which included federal and other state claims, this only refers to settlements of allegations under the IHRA. 775 ILCS 5/2-108(A).
Annual Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training. Every employer with employees working in this state is now required to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training. The IDHR will create an online model sexual harassment prevention training program. 775 ILCS 5/2-109(B). At least once a year, every employer must provide either this training or an alternative sexual harassment prevention training to all its employees. 775 ILCS 5/2-109(C). Training must include an explanation of sexual harassment, examples, a summary of federal and state statutes, and a summary of an employer’s responsibilities. 775 ICLS 5/2-109(B). Notably, this does not state that the mandatory training is limited to employees in Illinois. 775 ILCS 5/2-109(C). Thus, any employer must face the prospect of designing and implementing harassment prevention training for all of its employees to comply with the IHRA, or face civil penalties.
Should you have any questions regarding these issues, or require assistance meeting your disclosure obligations or designing and implementing trainings, please contact Colette Kopon at [email protected] or Daniel Myerson at [email protected].