Legal Update: Required Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Continuing Education

On January 1, 2020 the State of Illinois passed a law requiring at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training continuing education for many individuals who hold a professional license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Professional Regulation and the profession requires continuing education for renewal. (“The Department”) For example, in 2020 all Illinois registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and physicians renewed their licenses. As part of the regular renewal requirements, an individual holding these licenses was required to complete one hour of sexual harassment prevention training continuing education prior to submitting their renewal application.

The guidelines for which courses are approved for sexual harassment prevention training follow the same guidelines for all continuing education a licensed professional has had to follow. The continuing education (“CE”) sponsor must be authorized to provide CE by the Act or Rules of the Department and the profession’s specific statutes. The sponsor can either have an active CE provider license or be listed as a “pre-approved” sponsor. As always, make sure you are confirming ahead of time with any course that the sponsor is approved and that the course qualifies as sexual harassment prevention training before you spend the time taking the course. The Rules governing the Nurse Practice Act include a list of pre-approved organizations for administering nursing CEThe Rules governing the Medical Practice Act also include a list of pre-approved organizations.

Like all other CE you complete, you must receive and retain a copy of a certificate. You do not need to provide it with the renewal application, but you may be asked to confirm that you have completed the training at a later time. Audits of CE are conducted randomly and failure to fulfill your required hours can result in disciplinary action against your license. The one-hour course you complete in accordance with this law counts toward the hours you are required to complete and is not in addition to those hours. For example, if you are required to complete 20 hours of CE before the renewal of your license, one of those hours has to be sexual harassment prevention training CE.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

A frequently asked question is if the sexual harassment awareness training someone received from their employer counts towards this CE. The answer is that it only counts if the employer is an accepted or approved CE provider and only if they provide a CE certificate for the training. As always, make sure to confirm beforehand.

If you have multiple licenses issued by the Department, one CE that falls under this category can be applied to every renewal you complete this year. For example, if your Registered Nurse license and your Advanced Practice Nurse license need to be renewed this year, you can complete one hour of CE for sexual harassment prevention training and count it towards both renewals this year.

If you are required to complete domestic violence awareness CE as part of your renewal the course does not count as sexual harassment prevention training unless the course specifically includes the topic of sexual harassment prevention.

If your license does not fall under the Department’s Division of Professional Regulation, or your license does not require CE to renew your license, you do not fall under this  law and you do not need to complete sexual harassment prevention training CE.

Finally, the list below shows entities that are generally authorized to provide CE under the Act or Rules administered by the Department. If the course you are interested in taking is sponsored by one of the below entities, you should feel comfortable that the CE credit you receive will count towards your renewal.

  • State of Illinois agencies
  • Federal agencies
  • Illinois county agencies
  • Illinois municipalities
  • Accredited colleges or universities

If you have any questions regarding your CE, or if you are concerned about your renewal application in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us at Crick Walanka Law Group. We are here to assist all licensed professionals with any issues that may arise.

Disclaimer: This web site is addressed to those who hold professional licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and by similar licensing agencies in other states. Suggestions herein are, in most circumstances, valid for any type investigation, whether administrative, criminal, or civil. However, it should be noted that in some other states, one who holds a professional license may be required to submit to an investigative interview as a condition of being licensed. Whatever the circumstances, a licensed professional who becomes the subject of an investigation would be wise to immediately retain legal counsel. No content, whole or in part, is to be considered as “legal advice,” and by reading this document, no attorney-client relationship is formed with the Crick Walanka Law Group, Ltd.