New Obligations for Illinois Restaurant Owners


New Illinois Legislation Leaves New Obligations for Restaurant Owners

In light of many recent implementations of new laws intended to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, the Illinois General Assembly has recently passed the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act, which will require Illinois restaurant owners to implement a sexual harassment training policy, as well as provide training to all of its employees, even unpaid interns. This new legislation will go into effect July 1, 2020. 

This mandatory training will require a variety of standards to meet, and failure to comply with any of the changes included in this new bill will result in heavy monetary penalties. Let’s break down some of the key points to avoid any misunderstandings with this new legislation.

Required Sexual Harassment Policy

With the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act (RHA), restaurant owners will be required to implement a detailed sexual harassment policy that must include the following:

  • Prohibition of sexual harassment
  • The definition of sexual harassment under state & federal law
  • Examples of misconduct that would constitute sexual harassment
  • The proper internal complaint process of the employer available to the employee
  • Legal remedies and complaint process through the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)
  • The restriction of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment claims
  • The requirement that sexual harassment training is mandatory for all employees

Required Sexual Harassment Training

In addition to this required policy, restaurant owners will also be required to provide training to all employees, no matter their position.

For employee training, the following topics must be covered:

  • Definition of sexual harassment and the forms it may take
  • The impact harassment may have on victims & businesses
  • How to properly recognize behavior that is appropriate and inappropriate in a work setting
  • When to report sexual harassment
  • How to report sexual harassment

For management training, the previous topics must be covered, but the following as well:  

  • Employer and manager liability for addressing sexual harassment
  • How to create a harassment-free workplace culture
  • How to properly investigate sexual harassment allegations

There are also certain general requirements for this training, including:

  • Must be specific to restaurant/hospitality industry
  • Must include industry related activities, images, or videos
  • Available in both English & Spanish
  • May be conducted by any means available
  • Employees must complete training within 90 days after the bill takes effect, and every 2 years thereafter
  • Newly hired employees must complete training within their first 30 days
  • Must provide IDHR with proof of training completion upon request

Failure to comply to these new laws can result in serious monetary penalties. Employers with fewer than four employees would receive a fine of up to $500 for the first infraction, up to $1,000 for the second and up to $3,000 for offenses after that.  Employers with more than four employees would face fines of up to $1,000 for the first offense, $3,000 for the second and up to $5,000 for individual offenses after that.

Support from IRMA

To avoid restaurants and bars being fined, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) has partnered with the IDHR to create a training module that is free of cost so restaurants will not be forced to pay a private provider. If any restaurant/bar already has implemented any sexual harassment training that meets or exceeds the standards, they will not be required to receive this training.

TROXELL’s Philosophy

Here at TROXELL, our goal is to educate, advocate, and protect you. We recommend that employers review their policies and training procedures to ensure they comply with this new legislation.

We also understand the risks that business owners may face, and we know the ins and outs of unique insurance coverages for restaurants. We are proud to specialize in the hospitality business and are constantly assisting our clients in this industry to reduce claims and manage risks. As an HR Solutions Client of TROXELL, our team can help review your policies - or offer new ones that can be tailored to your specific industry.

Contact a specialist at TROXELL at 2175287533 or for more information.

This blog was written by:

Allison Lovdahl


This information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local TROXELL insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service. Neither TROXELL nor its affiliates or representatives offer legal advice. Consult with your attorney about your specific situation.



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