In an effort to curtail workplace sexual harassment, New York State and City have both passed expansive anti-sexual harassment legislation.
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, has developed 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–and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed–the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. The Act contains several effective dates for its various provisions, including:
- September 6, 2018: Employers must display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and distribute a fact sheet on sexual harassment to new hires.
- April 1, 2018: Employers with 15 or more employees must conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees.
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. For more information, download our guide.