As reported in a previous article (New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws), earlier this year, New York State passed a stringent new sexual harassment law.
As a part of this law, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor were required to publish a model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy. Once available, employers can choose whether to adopt the models prepared by the state or develop their own, so long as their policies and training meet or exceed the standards contained in the models.
On August 23, 2018, New York State released the following new materials designed to help New York employers comply with the new law:
- A new website (Combating sexual harassment in the workplace) which provides employers and employees with resources regarding combating sexual harassment in the workplace;
- A model sexual harassment prevention policy.
- A model sexual harassment complaint form
- A model anti-harassment training; and
- FAQs on the materials.
NOTE: The model policy, complaint form and anti-harassment training are currently in draft form. Employers can submit comments regarding these materials through the website on or before September 12, 2018.
Please be advised that the following three components of the state law take effect on October 9:
- All New York State employers must either adopt the new model sexual harassment policy or revise their existing anti-harassment policies so that the existing policy either meets or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model policy. The anti-harassment policy must also be provided to all employees in writing.
- All New York State employers must either adopt the new model sexual harassment complaint form or draft its own complaint form. The complaint form must be included as part of the employer’s sexual harassment policy.
- All New York State employers must either utilize the model sexual harassment prevention training program or establish a training program for employees that meets or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model training. This training must be provided to all employees on an annual basis.
Take home for employers
Although the model policy and training program are currently in draft form, it is recommended that all New York employers review these model documents and start making any necessary adjustments to their existing policies and/or training programs.