On April 12, 2018, as part of the 2018-2019 New York State Budget, Governor Cuomo signed strong legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. The anti-sexual harassment law requires all employers in New York adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and training by October 9, 2018.
New York State developed a website Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace that includes model sexual harassment policy, model complaint form, model sexual harassment training program and Toolkit for Employers.
New York State has released guidance regarding the sexual harassment policy and training requirements.
New Model Sexual Harassment Policy
The New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights have established the following requirements for the model sexual harassment policy:
Every employer in the New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the model policy must ensure that the policy that they adopt meets or exceeds the following minimum standards.
The policy must:
- Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
- Provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
- Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws
- Include a complaint form
- Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties
- Inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially
- Clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue
- Clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful
>> New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy
Here is the model complaint form to be included in the sexual harassment policy for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment.
>> Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies
Employers must provide each employee with a copy of its policy in writing. Employers should provide employees with the policy in the language spoken by their employees.
New York State has included an optional sexual harassment prevention poster as an optional tool to direct both employees and non-employees to your Sexual harassment Prevention Policy. If you choose to utilize the poster, it should be displayed in a highly visible place.
The sexual harassment prevention policy must be adopted by October 9, 2018.
Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
The New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights have established the following training requirements:
Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training. An employer that does not use the model training developed by the Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights must ensure that the training that they use meets or exceeds the following minimum standards. Model training materials are available to employers to download.
The training must:
- Be interactive
- Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Right
- Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
- Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
- Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaint
- Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors
Each employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018.
All employees must complete the model training or a comparable training that meets the minimum standards by October 9, 2019.
An “Employee” includes all workers, regardless of immigration status. Employee also includes exempt or non-exempt employees, part-time workers, seasonal workers and temporary workers.
New York State encourages employers to provide sexual harassment training to employees as soon as possible. Employers may be liable for employees’ actions immediately upon hire, and the State encourages training as soon as possible.
>> New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Training. The New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is available in PowerPoint as well.
As of October 9, 2018, each employee must receive training on an annual basis. Employers should provide employees with training in the language spoken by their employees. New York State will translate finalized materials into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Russian, Italian, Polish and Haitian-Creole as quickly as possible. Additional languages may be added in the future.
Employers that do not adopt the model policy or training must ensure the sexual harassment prevention policy and training meets or exceeds the law’s minimum standards.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.