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FAQs: The Workplace Transparency Act

The Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) was put into place January 1, 2020, to add additional protections for employees from harassment or discriminationWe hosted a webinar on this topic and three other legislative changes impacting employers. Below are common FAQ’s to help guide you. 

When does this law go into effect 

Beginning January 1, 2020, The Workplace Transparency Act was put into place to ensure anonymity for employees making reports of harassment or discrimination.   

Starting July 1, 2020 and on every July 1 thereafter, any reports of harassment or discrimination must be sent to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).   

Sexual harassment prevention training must be given to every employee annually, to be completed by December 31, 2020.    

How do I schedule sexual harassment prevention training?  

The IDHR will provide model training free of cost. Employers may develop their own training or hire an outside third party to provide the training, as long as it complies with the training requirements outlined in Sections 2-109 and 2-110. Our recommended vendors include Kantola Training SolutionsTraliant, Clear Law Institute, and JB Training. These vendors offer training ranging from $20 to $95 per person. Cost depends on how many employees are included in the training.  

What must be included in sexual harassment prevention training? 

If you choose to do your own training, we strongly recommend 

  • Using an interactive program 

  • Explaining the definition of sexual harassment  

  • Including examples of prohibited conduct  

  • Summarizing federal and state laws regarding sexual harassment   

  • Providing proof of training participation and completion 

The training must also state that it is the employee’s responsibility to prevent, investigate and address sexual harassment.  

In addition to this training, restaurants and bars are also required to provide supplemental sexual harassment prevention training.

*IDHR training guidelines are subject to change. Check back with IDHR often to ensure corporate compliance here. * 

If my new employee has been trained elsewhere, do I still need to provide sexual harassment prevention training?

Employers are encouraged to retrain their new employees. Because employers must retain their own records to show that all employees received the training, they should ask the new employees to provide documentation that they completed the IHRA compliant training elsewhere. If this documentation cannot be obtained, employers must have the employee retrained.

Am I required to train short-term employees, part-time employees, or interns?

Yes. All employees regardless of their status must be trained.

Employers are not required to train independent contractors, however it is strongly advised that they do so if the contractor is working on-site or interacting with the employer's staff.

What are the consequences of failing to comply with the WTA? 

If any company fails to report instances of discrimination or sexual harassment accurately and by the deadline, the company will be fined between $500 and $5,000 per offense.  

Failure to provide the appropriate sexual harassment prevention training will result in fines between $500 and $5,000.   

How do ensure I am compliant?  

Review your company’s confidentiality agreements, employment agreements, business protection agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Make sure the contracts clearly state that the employee will be kept confidential in the case of reporting instances of discrimination or harassment and there will be no retaliation (such as firing) for making a report.  

Schedule the mandatory sexual harassment prevention during the employees’ normal working hours to be completed before December 15, 2020.  

Report all instances of harassment or discrimination (not including the names of victims) to the IDHR by July 1, 2020.   

For more information, click here to download our webinar.