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October 1st, 2018
Are You Ready for New York’s New Anti-Harassment Rules?
Many New York employers are days away from a number of important compliance deadlines relating to the recently enacted New York State anti-sexual harassment laws (a link to our prior alert on these laws is here). We have provided a summary of what covered employers need to do.
By October 9, 2018, all New York State employers are required to either adopt the model sexual harassment policy created by the NYS Department of Labor, or to develop their own policy that equals or exceeds the standards set by the model policy. Employers must distribute these policies to employees in writing (this may be done electronically so long as employees are able to access and print the policy on a computer in the workplace).
By October 9, 2018, all New York State employers must begin complying with mandatory sexual harassment training laws. These laws require New York employers of all sizes to provide annual sexual harassment training to employees - either utilizing a model program prepared by the NYS Department of Labor, or one that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model training program. The training must:
- be interactive (meaning via a live trainer or a web-based program with an interactive component where employees can ask and be asked questions)
- include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYS Department of Labor in consultation with the NYS Division of Human Rights
- 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 complaints
- include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for supervisors
Each employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018, and must complete the model training or comparable training that meets the minimum standards by January 1, 2019. After January 1, 2019, all employees must complete sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of starting their job.
Both the model-training guide and policy issued by New York State may be revised following the end of the comment period on September 12, 2018. However, employers should use the existing policy and training requirements to ensure they are in compliance with upcoming deadlines. Reminder: as of September 6, 2018, covered New York City employers must post the new anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster created by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Employers must also distribute the information sheet to new employees at the time of hire or include similar information in their employee handbook.
Beginning April 19, 2019, NYC employers of 15 or more employees will also be required to provide annual interactive sexual harassment training to employees that complies with New York City requirements. Sample modules are being prepared by the NYC Commission on Human Rights but are not yet available.
New York employers should review their existing anti-harassment policies and procedures for both employees and other workers, and ensure that any policies comply with minimum state and city requirements. Employers who do not conduct annual training should take steps to put training programs in place.
If you would like to schedule a training session, update your policies, or discuss any other aspects of the new rules, please contact Wendy Stryker at (212) 705-4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Executive Compensation & Employment Group.
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On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its ongoing guidance on COVID-related labor and employment rules, “What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” The updates provide crucial information for employers working through their return-to-work plans. Read more.
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