Last year, as the #MeToo movement rocked our nation, New York took the lead in passing new laws to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Some of the new laws went into effect this month. Here is what all New York employers and employees should know:
As of October 9, 2018, all employers in New York State –regardless of size—are required to implement an anti-sexual harassment policy and train all employees on sexual harassment recognition and response.
The sexual harassment policies and trainings must meet basic standards set by the State. At minimum, policies must:
Contain a prohibition of sexual harassment;
Provide examples of unlawful sexual harassment;
Include information concerning the federal and state laws proscribing sexual harassment and note that local laws may also be applicable;
Include a complaint form;
Contain a procedure for the investigation of complaints;
Inform employees of all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
State that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory personnel who knowingly allow sexual harassment to continue; and
State that retaliation is unlawful.
The New York State Department of Labor has provided a model policy and model training that employers can use.
In addition to the state laws that recently went into effect, other requirements will also go into effect in New York City early next year. Many New York City employees will have heightened protection from sexual harassment under New York City Human Rights Law, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees. New York City employers will have the following additional obligations:
Conducting annual sexual harassment training for all employees, including interns;
Training employees on bystander intervention;
Providing managers and supervisors with additional training; and
Maintaining records on sexual harassment trainings for three years.
For more information, and to access the model sexual harassment policy and training requirements, visit New York’s website on Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace or New York City’s website on The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.
If you are an employer that is interested in having the Gender Equality Law Center conduct a training for your employees, or if you are an employee who has questions about your rights, please reach out to attorneys at the Gender Equality Law Center at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.