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

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 NYC and NY State laws for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment training is a top priority under the new laws. Both the City and State will require private and public employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual sexual harassment training, and create and distribute a written sexual harassment policy.

Training requirements under the NY State anti-harassment law take effect October 9, 2018.  The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act takes effect on April 1, 2019.

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, 2018: 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.  
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Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act – Effective April 1, 2019

  • All private employers with 15 or more employees must conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees, including interns, supervisors and managers, after 90 days on the job. 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

  • 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 City and New York State 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, sensitivity 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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