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NEW YORK STATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT REQUIREMENTS TO IMPACT EMPLOYERS IN OCTOBER

By Hank Kita, STA Executive Director

STA members are urged to pay close attention to impending state sexual harassment requirements which will take effect in the very near future.

Sexual harassment prevention laws which were passed earlier this year by the New York State Assembly and Senate as part of the state budget will begin to impact STA members in early October.  Specifically, these new laws will require all employers throughout the State of New York to implement mandatory sexual harassment policies and training programs by October 9, 2018.

A model harassment policy developed by the state can be found here and a model complaint form here.

The mandatory sexual harassment policy per the new state requirements must include the following elements:

  • Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the New York State Department of Labor;
  • Provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • Include information regarding the federal and state provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment and statement that there may be applicable local laws;
  • Define a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensure due process for all parties;
  • Include a complaint form;
  • Inform employees of their rights and all forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
  • 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;
  • State that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.

In addition, the new state law mandates that all employers implement a mandatory annual sexual harassment training program for all employees starting on October 9.  The state’s model training program can be accessed here.

Among the required issues and elements of the training are:

  • Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the New York State Department of Labor;
  • Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • Include information regarding employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints;
  • Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
  • Be interactive;
  • Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.