New York state laws dictate specific requirements for providing sexual harassment prevention training to people who work in the state. Parties who violate these laws – intentionally or not – can face serious repercussions. Therefore, knowing what the rules require is crucial in avoiding costly and disruptive penalties. (Employers in New York City have additional and different requirements, which will be addressed in a later post.)
Who do the laws apply to?
In New York State, every employer who employs at least one person must conduct sexual harassment prevention training for every employee every year.
Employers with full-time, part-time, temporary, or occasional workers in New York must comply with sexual harassment prevention training laws.
Content requirements for the training
While training materials and sessions can vary between businesses and individuals, there are components that every training must include, such as:
- Definitions of sexual harassment
- Examples of behaviors that are unlawful
- Information on the state laws in place regarding sexual harassment
- Process for filing complaints internally and with the relevant government agency
- Details of any additional responsibilities or requirements for people in supervisory and managerial roles (e.g., the responsibility to report sexual harassment)
Additionally, sexual harassment prevention training must be:
- Delivered in English as well as the primary language of an employee if other than English
- Tailored to the specific group receiving training (e.g., offering relevant example scenarios)
Further, state laws require every company to have a sexual harassment policy in place. The policy must include anti-retaliation provisions, which prevent parties from punishing someone for reporting harassment.
Consequences for violating training rules
These laws aim to prevent workplace sexual harassment. They are in place to inform workers of their rights and guide employers in their responsibilities.
That said, people make mistakes and poor decisions. If employers fail to conduct appropriate training or workers violate anti-harassment rules, there can be legal, financial, and professional consequences.