New York State's 2019 budget includes a host of new provisions aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Several months ago we published an article about the new sexual harassment prevention measures and what they mean for employers. While the law has been passed, many of the details were not released. We now have some more details.
The new law requires all employers in New York State to adopt and distribute a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. The law goes into effect October 9, 2018.
Again, there are 2 components:
- Adopting a Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy
- Providing Interactive Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (to all employees)
Model Sexual Harassment Policy - Minimum Standards
New York State has now released more details about the sexual harassment prevention policy it's requiring employers to adopt.
Every employer in the New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the model policy must ensure that the policy that they adopt meets or exceeds the following minimum standards.
According to New York State, the policy must:
prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
include information concerning 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 their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially
clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue
clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful
New York State has also released a "statewide sexual harassment prevention policy" which serves as a model template employers can use to keep in compliance with the new law.
However, it's important to understand this policy are draft documents.
The public, employers and employees are encouraged to provide comments on the proposed policies. Comments can be submitted on or before September 12, 2018. All comments will be reviewed and necessary revisions will be considered.
📄 Download: Statewide Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy
Model Complaint Form
Similar to the policy template, New York State has also released a model complaint form. This the form that employees would use to file sexual harassment complaints, another requirement of the new law.
From New York State: New York State Labor Law requires all employers to adopt a sexual harassment policy that include a complaint form for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment.
Employers can download the model complaint form and share with their employees.
📄 Download: Sexual Harassment Complaint Form
From New York State: Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training. An employer that does not use the model training developed by the Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights must ensure that the training that they use meets or exceeds the following minimum standards. Model training materials are available to employers to download.
According to New York State, the training must:
- be interactive
- include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the 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 such supervisors
Each employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018.
📄 Download: Sexual Harassment DRAFT Model Training
Contact or Comment
It cannot be stated enough times that none of these templates, forms or minimum standards overviews are finalized. These are drafts only. The state is allowing employers and employees alike to provide comments about what has been provided. And all the materials will be finalized after New York State has reviewed the comments.
New York State has issued a new law that requires all employers to adopt and distribute a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. The law goes into effect October 9, 2018. The state will be developing a model policy and a model training, so employers will not need to create their own. Click here to be notified when the state releases this model policy to help ensure your compliance.