New York Releases Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Legislation
New York State’s final guidance on sexual harassment legislation is out and will take effect on October 9, 2018. This is an update to guidance first enacted back in May of this year.
The state’s new website features a model policy, model training, case studies, frequently asked questions, an employer toolkit, model complaint form, and optional poster (see below for links). All documents are expected to be published in multiple languages in the future.
Of importance in this final guidance is an update to training dates. The date for employers to train all existing employees has been extended from January 1, 2019 to October 9, 2019. However, all employers must distribute a written policy in compliance with the guidance by October 9, 2018.
The final documents provide clarification on a few other issues:
- While the proposed guidance required new employees be trained within 30 days of hire, the final guidance indicates that the state encourages training for new employees “as soon as possible.”
- The guidance says that “Employers should distribute the policy to employees prior to commencing work and should have it posted.”
- While employers must provide the policy to their employees in writing, it can also be provided electronically – that is as long as workers are able to access the electronic policy through a computer during work time and are able to print a copy for their records.
- Additional clarification has been provided on what constitutes “interactive” training.
- Examples of employee participation include:
- If the training is web-based, it has questions at the end of a section and the employee must select the right answer.
- If the training is web-based, the employees have an option to submit a question online and receive an answer immediately in a timely manner.
- If the training is in-person or live, the presenter asks the employees questions or gives them time throughout the presentation to ask questions.
- A feedback survey is provided for employees after completing the training.
- The annual date for training can be set by the employer and can be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.
- All employees, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees, must receive sexual harassment training.
- The 21-day waiting requirement for the confidentiality provisions cannot be waived or shortened.
The website also provides the following resources:
- Model Sexual Harassment Policy
- Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies
- Guidance on Sexual Harassment for New York State Employers
- Model Complaint Form for Reporting
- Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
- Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Employer Toolkit
- Model Power Point for training
- Case Studies
Employers should review their policies to determine compliance in anticipation of the written policy distribution deadline. We also recommend that employers begin to develop compliant training. Our team can assist you in creating policies and training that are compliant with the new final guidance.
To learn more about how the model policies and sexual harassment training might affect your business, please contact:
- Kristin Klein Wheaton
- Caroline J. Berdzik
- Or another member of our Employment and Labor Practice Group.