New York’s 2018 budget included a requirement that employers to provide annual comprehensive anti-sexual harassment training for employers.
Below is a brief outline of the bill’s requirements.
Details of the training
Employers’ anti-harassment training, which must be in place by October, should include:
- An explicit prohibition on sexual harassment and clear examples of prohibited conduct
- Information on federal, state and local laws regarding sexual harassment prohibitions
- A complaint form employees can fill out if they have been sexually harassed
- A procedure for investigating complaints
- Information on the rights of employees, including how they can have their issue resolved
- A clear warning that employees who engage in sexual harassment will face adverse employment consequences
- A clear policy against any form of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment
While not required by law, employers should also clearly document their training and procedures, including attendance. Separately, as well, employers should know that New York recently prohibited sexual harassment settlements from including non-disclosure agreements, unless the non-disclosure is the “preference” of the person bringing the claim.
Who needs to complete the training?
Any employer in New York with 15 or more employees must have this policy in place. Also, employment law protections against sexual harassment have expanded to cover all employees, including interns, regardless of the size of the employer.
What should employers do?
Now, more than ever, it is important for employers in New York to review their anti-harassment policies and ensure they are compliant under the law. Comprehensive and documented anti-harassment training can also reduce the risk of a hostile workplace and prevent issues from arising.