New Guidelines Approved for NY Sexual Harassment Training and Policies

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL), in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), has approved guidelines for its new sexual harassment training for all New York employers.

The DOL has also released a FAQ document setting forth the minimum requirements for sexual harassment prevention policies and training programs. In addition, webinars, workshops, and resources will be offered shortly to all New York employers.

Regardless of the number of employees, all employers in New York State will be required to adhere to requirements by completing employee training by October 9, 2019. New hires should receive training as soon as possible and current employees will be required to receive training annually. Additional information on this new requirement can be found on the NYS website here.

New York City Employers Only

For employers based in New York City, there are additional rules and regulations under The NYC Human Rights Law. This law helps to protect all individuals against discrimination based on gender, which includes sexual harassment in the workplace, in housing, and in public accommodations like stores and restaurants. Violators can be held accountable with civil penalties of up to $250,000 in the case of a willful violation. The Commission can also assess emotional distress damages and other remedies to the victim, can require the Violator to undergo training, and can mandate other remedies such as community service.

On May 9, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, a comprehensive legislative package aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, into law. Included in the package is an expansion of the City Human Rights Law in cases of gender-based harassment to increase the statute of limitations from one year to three years and expand protections to all employees, regardless of the size of their employer. The dedicated website with additional information can be found here.

Additional obligations for employers in NYC include:

  1. Requiring employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees (effective April 1, 2019).

  2. Requiring all employers in the city to conspicuously display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities notices in both English and Spanish and distribute a factsheet to individual employees at the time of hire which may be included in an employee handbook (effective September 6, 2018).

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