NEW POSTER:  NYC Publishes New Sexual Harassment Poster

Earlier this year, New York City enacted new laws requiring NYC employers to educate their employees about workplace harassment and sexual harassment.

Under the new law, the NYC Commission on Human Rights is required to provide employers with certain tools to help NYC employers comply with the new law.  These tools include:

  • Creating a workplace poster addressing the new law (in both English and Spanish)
  • Develop a model anti-harassment policy
  • Develop a model standard complaint form
  • Develop a model anti-harassment training program.

Workplace Poster

The NYC Commission on Human Rights recently published the English version of the new workplace poster (the Spanish version is still forthcoming).  Starting September 6, 2018, all NYC employers are required to display this poster (and the Spanish version) in a prominent location in the workplace.

We recommend that employers post this poster as soon as possible.

Workplace Notice

In addition to the poster, the NYC Commission on Human Rights has also released a “Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet”.  This factsheet is intended to help employers meet the requirement of providing all employees (and new hires) with notice of the anti-harassment law.  Employers may either distribute this factsheet to all existing employees and new hires and/or they can incorporate the information in the factsheet into an anti-harassment policy in the employee handbook or a free-standing policy.

We recommend that employers provide this factsheet to all current employees and new hires.

Anti-Harassment Training

The NYC sexual harassment training requirement does not go into effect until April 1,2019.  At that time, NYC employers with 15 or more employees will be required to provide all employees with anti-harassment training that meets the New York State training requirements (which go into effect on October 9, 2018), but also contain the following required elements:

  • A description of the internal complaint process available to employees to address sexual harassment claims;
  • The complaint process available through the EEOC, the state division of human rights and the city commission on human rights, including contact information for all three agencies;
  • An explanation of retaliation and examples of prohibited retaliatory conduct;
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including resources that explain how to engage in it; and
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in preventing sexual harassment and retaliation

Employers will be required to start providing the New York State training starting October 9th.  Both the State and NYC will be providing more specific guidance relating to the trainings.  In addition, both will be providing model training programs that employers can use to meet the training requirements.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Starting October 9, 2018, all New York State employers are required to provide employees with written anti-harassment policy, including a standard complaint form that employees can use to file a complaint.  Model policies and forms are still being developed by the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor, but employer can modify their existing policies to include the following elements:

  • A clear prohibition of sexual harassment and examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
  • Information concerning federal, state and local anti-harassment laws, including the remedies that are available to victims of sexual harassment;
  • A standard complaint form that can be used to submit complaints under the policy;
  • A procedure for the investigation of complaints under the policy that is timely, confidential and “ensure[s] due process for all parties;”
  • Information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
  • A statement that sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals who engage in sexual harassment as well as against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
  • A statement that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceeding under the law is unlawful.

NYC employers may also want to include the following information in their policies:

  • The material covered in the newly released “fact sheet;”
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including resources that explain how to engage in it; and
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in preventing sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address such issues.

We recommend that all NYC employers review their obligations under the new laws and ensure they will be in compliance by the statutory deadlines.