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Illinois Workplace Harassment Prevention Training for Restaurants and Bars Information

Workplace Harassment Prevention Training

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The Illinois Human Rights Act was amended in August 2019, therefore starting January 1, 2020, all employees working in Illinois must receive sexual harassment training at least once a year.

All workers including contractors, consultants, and unpaid interns, have the right to be free from sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Workers are also protected from retaliation for reporting incidents of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or helping others exercise their rights.

Notification Requirements: In Illinois, it is a civil rights violation for an employer to fail to include in a posting on the premises, AND in an employee handbook, information concerning the rights of employees to:
  • Be free from unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace;
  • File a charge of discrimination or sexual harassment; and
  • Obtain certain reasonable accommodations such as those based on pregnancy and disability.

Training Requirements: Every employer with employees working in Illinois must train all their employees in sexual harassment prevention training at least once a year. The first deadline is January 1, 2021.

Failure to train all employees as required may result in a civil penalty. For an employer with less than 4 employees, the penalty will not be greater than $500 for a first offense, $1,000 for a second offense, or $3,000 for a third or subsequent offense. For an employer with 4 or more employees, the penalty will not be greater than $1,000 for a first offense, $3,000 for a second offense, or $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

Additional Requirements for Bars and Restaurants: Every restaurant and bar operating in Illinois must have a sexual harassment policy provided to all employees, in writing, within the first calendar week of the employee’s employment. Annual sexual harassment training required for bar and restaurant employees must include (in additional to sexual harassment prevention training requirements for other employers) specific conduct, activities or videos related to the restaurant or bar industry and an explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law. This training must also have both English and Spanish language options.

Additional Requirements for Casinos and Hotels: By July 1, 2020, each hotel and casino must provide an employee who frequently works alone in guest rooms, restrooms, or casino floors with a safety device or notification device. The employee may use the safety device or notification device to summon help if the employee reasonably believes that an ongoing crime, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other emergency is occurring in the employee's presence. The safety device or notification device shall be provided by the hotel or casino at no cost to the employee.

Employers must also develop, maintain, and comply with a written anti-sexual harassment policy to protect employees against sexual assault and sexual harassment by guests and must provide all employees with a current copy in English and Spanish and post the policy in conspicuous places in areas of the hotel or casino where employees would typically see it (such as supply rooms or employee lunch rooms).

Restrictions on Employment Agreements: All employment contracts entered into, modified, or extended on or after January 1, 2010 must comply with the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act.

This act prohibits contracts, agreements or other documents from restricting an employee from reporting claims of unlawful conduct to federal, State, or local official for investigation, including alleged criminal conduct or unlawful employment practices.

This act also places limitations on arbitration agreements and generally restricts the use of unilateral conditions of employment if they require an employee to waive or arbitrate claims related to unlawful employment practices.

Under this act, employees may be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in challenging a contract for violation of this act.

Victims Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA): This act allows victims of domestic, sexual, or gender violence to take unpaid, job-protected leave to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance without penalty, if requested.

"Gender violence" includes acts or realistic threats of violence or aggression that are committed, at least in part, on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sex or gender and physical intrusions or physical invasions of a sexual nature. "Gender violence" need not to result in criminal charges, prosecution, or conviction to be covered by VESSA.

A victim of workplace harassment could be entitled to such leave.

Required Disclosures: Beginning July 1, 2020, all employers (who employ one or more persons in the state of IL), labor organizations, and State or any political subdivisions, municipal corporations or other governmental units or agencies are required to disclose annually to the Department of Human Rights the number of adverse judgments or administrative rulings involving sexual harassment or discrimination during the preceding year.

Failure to make the required disclosures may result in a civil penalty. For an employer with less than 4 employees, the penalty will not be greater than $500 for a first offense, $1,000 for a second offense, or $3,000 for a third or subsequent offense. For an employer with 4 or more employees, the penalty will not be greater than $1,000 for a first offense, $3,000 for a second offense, or $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

Reporting Sexual Harassment or Discrimination: A discrimination charge can be initiated with the Illinois Department of Human Rights by calling, emailing, faxing, mailing or appearing in person at the IDHR's Chicago or Springfield office within 300 days of the date the alleged discrimination took place.

Chicago Office
100 West Randolph Street, 10th Floor, Intake Unit
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-6200 | (866) 740-3953 (TTY)
(312) 814-1436 (FAX - Administration)
(312)814-6251 (FAX - Charge Processing)

Springfield Office
535 West Jefferson Street, 1st Floor, Intake Unit
Springfield, IL 62702
(217) 785-5100 | (866) 740-3953 (TTY) | (217) 785-5106 (FAX)

State of Illinois Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Helpline:
877-236-7703 or TTY: 711
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.