Sexual Harassment Training Laws: What New York Employers Need to Know Now

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September 10, 2018
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Both New York State and New York City have enacted laws related to sexual harassment prevention, with different provisions for employee communication and training along with various dates for compliance. The first New York City provisions went into place last week and further elements of state and city acts will be rolling out over the next nine months.

New York City promises to provide a model training document that can be used by employers sometime in the future. New York State issued drafts of a model training document, model sexual harassment policy, and model complaint form, and is seeking public comments until September 12, 2018 before finalizing them. ThinkHR will continue to monitor any changes to both the state and city  training mandate and policy requirements.

New York State

Important Dates

  • October 9, 2018: New sexual harassment training requirements become effective for all employers, regardless of size, and all employees (no minimum hour requirement). Training must be conducted annually.
  • January 1, 2019: All employees must be trained by the first of the year.
    • New employees beginning employment after January 1, 2019, must be trained within 30 days of their start date.
    • Contractors who bid on state contracts must certify that they have provided annual sexual harassment training to all employees, including those outside of the state.

Training Requirements

New York State’s training requirements are similar to those in the other states that currently mandate training – California, Connecticut, and Maine. The major differences in the New York State law include:

  • The training applies to all employers, regardless of size, that employ anyone in the state of New York, and to all employees, not just managers. (Maine has a similar employee requirement.)
  • State contractors must abide by the training mandate.
  • Training must be provided annually.

New York City

Important Dates

  • September 6, 2018: All New York City employers are required to display a poster in English and Spanish outlining employees’ rights and responsibilities regarding sexual harassment, as well as distribute an information sheet to individual employees at the time of hire.
  • April 1, 2019 (deadline to have all employees trained is April 1, 2020): New York City employers with 15 or more employees must train all full- or part-time employees who work 90 or more hours per calendar year.

Training Requirements

The New York City “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” applies to all employers with 15 or more employees and requires annual training for all employees beginning April 1, 2019. The city’s law goes beyond the state mandate to include provisions that (1) address bystander intervention and (2) describe the complaint process available through the city Commission on Human Rights, the state Division of Human Rights, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Contact information for the offices of these agencies that employees may report harassment issues to must also be shared.

The city’s model training document is still pending. ThinkHR will continue to monitor and report on further developments.

ThinkHR’s Solutions Have You Covered

ThinkHR Learn currently has workplace harassment prevention courses for both managers and employees, including specialized manager harassment training for the states of California, Connecticut, and Maine. Our training is currently being updated to reflect the New York laws. There will be two courses — one for managers and one for employees — that will incorporate the necessary state references and meet the standards for online harassment prevention training. The two new courses will be available in October.

Learn more about the New York laws from recent ThinkHR law alerts from September 2018 (State Sexual Harassment Prevention Draft Form and Policies), August 2018 (New York City Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet and Notice), May 2018 (Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act), and April 2018 (New York State Sexual Harassment).

About Laura Kerekes, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Laura Kerekes is ThinkHR’s Chief Knowledge Officer and leads the company’s human resources knowledge operations teams. She provides expertise to customers with complicated human resources and management issues, offers knowledge and guidance regarding management and HR best practices, and regularly shares her expertise through articles and webinars.

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