A new sexual harassment law goes into effect in New York state. Learn what you need to know about the law’s policy and training requirements.

Beginning in October 9, 2018, New York employers must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and training or use a similar policy and training that meet or exceed the law’s minimum standards.

There are two parts to the law:

1. NY Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

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

The state of New York offers guidance, sample forms, a sample notice

2. NY Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Every employer in New York State is required to provide all employees with sexual harassment prevention training starting on October 8, 2018 – training must be completed by October 9, 2019. Training must be provided to all employees annually. 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.

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

The state of New York offers guidance, model training and case studies.

Also see: FAQs for NY Employers

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