Are You Prepared?
Illinois Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Approaching.
On August 9, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 75 into law. There are many aspects of this bill, but this article focuses on the sexual harassment training required of all Illinois employers. The deadline of January 1, 2023, to provide this training is fast approaching.
Illinois followed in the footsteps of other states that enacted similar statutes in response to the nationwide “me too” movement. Illinois state government itself experienced sexual harassment from within the offices and campaigns of a number of elected state officials and representatives. Legislators responded by drafting laws to redress the issue within the Illinois government but also created legislation impacting all Illinois employers. Currently, 11 states require sexual harassment training, and another six have pending similar legislation.
Laws protecting employees from sexual harassment and discrimination have existed for many years, but the new Illinois law requires employers to provide specific training for all employees. Employers, including many in Illinois, have also provided sexual harassment training for years to discourage the behavior from occurring in their workplaces.
Employers want to protect their employees from sexual harassment for many reasons. Preventing sexual harassment can improve employee retention, reduce turnover, and prevent costly employment practice liability claims. Court-awarded damages for employment-related lawsuits average $217,000 per claim. Employment practice liability insurance (EPLI) is a special line of coverage that must be purchased separately. Unfortunately, a number of small and medium-size employers decline this important coverage because of cost. The legal costs to simply defend a claim can easily exceed the amount of the premium. While this article focuses on sexual harassment training, readers should understand the potential consequences of not purchasing adequate employment practice liability insurance.