New York Releases Guidance and Model Policies and Training on Sexual Harassment
Last week, New York State released anticipated guidance regarding new sexual harassment legislation that was enacted in May with major provisions effective October 9. The new website provides a model policy, model training, frequently asked questions, and a sample complaint form. All documents have been released as drafts, and the state is seeking public comment on or before September 12, 2018.
The proposed documents answer some questions that were left unclear in the legislation. Highlights include:
- Annual sexual harassment training utilizing the state’s model training or an equivalent must be completed by employers for existing employees on or before January 1, 2019
- New employees must be provided with training within 30 days of hire
- While employers must provide the policy to their employees in writing, it can also be provided electronically, 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
- The training, which must be interactive and require some form of employee participation, can be web-based as long as it accommodates questions asked by employees, includes a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions, and/or requires feedback from employees about the training and materials presented
- The annual date for training can be set by the employer after January 1, 2019, 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 employees, must receive sexual harassment training
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
- Minimum standards for sexual harassment training
- Model sexual harassment training
- Frequently asked questions
Employers should begin reviewing their policies to determine compliance. Our team can assist you in creating policies and training that are compliant with the new proposed guidance. Also, the state is accepting comments on the draft documents through September 12, 2018.
To learn more about how the model policies and sexual harassment training might affect your business, please contact:
- Caroline J. Berdzik
- Kristin Klein Wheaton
- Or another member of our Employment and Labor Practice Group.