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What You Need to Know About New York’s New Sexual Harassment Laws

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new york state sexual harassment training laws If you’re an employer in New York, now’s the time to review and update your sexual harassment training and policies to ensure you’re ready to comply with New York State’s new laws for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. While the new laws apply to all employers in NY State, New York City enacted its own local anti-harassment laws, with additional requirements that apply to employers in NYC.

Sexual harassment training is a top priority under both the State and City laws, which require employers to conduct annual sexual harassment training, and create and distribute a written sexual harassment policy. Under New York State’s anti-harassment laws, all NY employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training by October 9, 2019. Under NYC’s Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, NYC employers with 15 or more employees have until April 1, 2019 to start training all employees on sexual harassment prevention, and then must provide annual training.

Here are some takeaways that may affect your organization:

New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation

  • Effective now: Protection against sexual harassment extends beyond employees to contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and other individuals providing services in the workplace.
  • July 11, 2018: The law bans the use of non-disclosure clauses in sexual harassment settlements or agreements, unless it’s the preference of the individual making the harassment complaint. It also bans mandatory arbitration clauses in sexual harassment settlements.
  • October 9, 2019: Employers are required to conduct annual sexual harassment training for all employees and distribute a written anti-harassment policy. Employers have the option to create their own training and policy or adapt the models that are being developed by the NY State Department of Labor and the NY State Division of Human Rights.  

Learn More Sexual Harassment Here!

New York City Laws – Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act 

  • All NYC employers with 15 or more employees have until April 1, 2019 to start training all employees, including interns, supervisors and managers, on sexual harassment prevention within 90 days of hire, and then provide annual training. Online training programs satisfy the requirement.

The training should:

✓  Clearly define sexual harassment in terms that employees can easily understand.

✓  Provide examples of different behaviors that constitute sexual harassment.  

✓  Discuss bystander intervention and how employees should respond.

✓  Define retaliation and how and when it can occur.

✓  Explain the internal process for filing complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation.

✓  Explain the complaint process available through the NYC Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and provide contact information for those agencies.

✓ Include the specific responsibilities of supervisors and managers to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures they may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.

✓ Include an acknowledgement form confirming that each employee has completed the training. Employers must keep acknowledgment forms for three years.

In addition to conducting training, all NYC employers must prominently display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster in the workplace, and hand out an information sheet on sexual harassment to all new hires. The poster will be designed by the NYC Commission on Human Rights.  

Traliant Insight New, stronger sexual harassment laws in New York State and New York City require organizations to conduct annual sexual harassment training and develop a written sexual harassment policy. Now’s the time to review and update your anti-harassment training and policies to ensure you comply with the new laws. All employees, at every level, need to understand how to identify and prevent workplace sexual harassment, and know what steps to take when they experience or observe it.

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