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New York State, City to Require Anti-Sexual Harassment Training

by John Stebbins on Apr 26, 2018 12:02:21 PM

In an effort to curtail workplace sexual harassment, New York State and City have both passed expansive anti-sexual harassment legislation that includes mandatory training.

New York State Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation

The New York state budget bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 12 includes new sexual harassment prevention requirements for all New York employers, regardless of size. Among the obligations the bill includes, which take effect October 9, 2018, are that employers must:

  • Adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and distribute it in writing to employees. This policy must include a statement prohibiting harassment, outline the procedure for investigations, include a complaint form, and explain employees’ rights, among other things.
  • Conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. The interactive training must explain harassment, include examples of unlawful behavior, and provide information about employees’ rights and remedies. It must also include information about supervisor conduct and responsibilities.

The state’s Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Division of Human Rights, will develop a model sexual harassment policy and training program that employers can utilize, or they can develop their own compliant policies and training programs.

New York City Legislation

Following the state’s enactment of anti-sexual harassment legislation, the New York City Council passed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act that would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training annually. The Act is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and would take effect April 1, 2019.

Similar to the state law requirements, the city legislation mandates training that includes an explanation of sexual harassment, examples, the complaint process, and the responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of harassment. The City Commission on Human Rights will develop a training module that can be used.

With these changes looming, now is a good time for New York employers to review their current policies and training procedures for compliance, and update them as necessary.

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