Update on Sexual Harassment Training in New York State

The final model of the sexual harassment policy and training guideline for employers to be in compliance with the new legislation was released on October 1st and became effective on October 9th . The final training guidelines no longer require employers to have all employees trained by January 1,  2019, they now have until October 9, 2019, a full year to complete the training.  In addition, they no longer require that all new employees complete the sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of starting their new job but instead encourage new employees to be trained “as soon as possible” after commencing employment.

Other changes include the time frame for an investigation into sexual harassment complaints no longer must be completed in 30 days but “as soon as possible” and “commenced immediately”.  The statement that the employer must have a “zero -tolerance policy” for any form of sexual harassment was eliminated as it was inconsistent with federal guidelines on sexual harassment policies.

Employers are still required to have a compliant sexual harassment policy in place as of October 9, 2018, and while they are not required to use the model policy, but it must meet or exceed the state’s minimum standards and it must include the following:

  • Prohibit sexual harassment in a manner consistent with the guidance issued by the Division of Human Rights;
  • Provide examples of prohibited conduct;
  • Include information regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
  • Include a complaint form;
  • Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties;
  • Inform employees of external administrative and judicial remedies for addressing sexual harassment complaints;
  • Clearly state that sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct, and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals who engage in sexual harassment and against supervisory and management personnel who knowingly allow sexual harassment; and
  • Clearly state that retaliation is unlawful.

Below are helpful links

Toolkit for employers: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SexualHarassmentPreventionToolkitforEmployers.pdf

The New York State Final Model Sexual Harassment Policy:

https://www.ny.gov/programs/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace

Guidelines: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SexualHarassmentPreventionModelPolicy.pdf

 

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