Tag Archives: sexual harassment training

NEW LAW: DC To Require Sexual Harassment Training for Tipped Employees

Attention DC Employers, on October 23, 2018, the District of Columbia Mayor signed the “Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018.”  While this law repealed Initiative 77 (discussed in NEW LAW – Washington DC Elimination of Tip Credit Repealed) and imposed new posting requirements on all DC employers (discussed in COMING SOON: New Posting Requirements for All DC Employers), the new law also imposes the following new requirements on employers of tipped employees:

Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training For Tipped Employees

Employers will be required to provide sexual harassment training to their tipped employees and managers.  This training must be either through a course developed by the Office of Human Rights (OHR) or from an OHR-certified provider. Continue reading NEW LAW: DC To Require Sexual Harassment Training for Tipped Employees

Good News For New York Employers – The Deadline To Provide Employees With Sexual Harassment Training Has Been Extended

On October 1, 2018, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor published the final versions of the model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy.  See our previous article (NEW GUIDANCE:  New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released) for information about the final materials.

Employers are required to adopt and provide a copy of their sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees by October 9, 2018.  In addition, employers are required to display the new sexual harassment prevention policy poster in a prominent location in the workplace no later than October 9, 2018.

It is recommended that New York employers take immediate steps to comply with these new requirements.

The good news for employers, the deadlines to provide sexual harassment training have changed.

With respect to providing sexual harassment training to new hires, the final guidance materials remove the proposed  30-day deadline by which newly-hired employees must complete their first mandatory anti-harassment training.  Instead, there is not any set deadline and the State “encourages training of of new hires as soon as possible.”  (NOTE:  New York City employers will be required to train new hires in New York City within the first 90 days of employment).

With respect to providing sexual harassment training to existing employees, the final guidance materials postpone the deadline by which all employees in New York State must complete their first annual mandatory anti-harassment training to October 9, 2019.

NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released

As reported earlier (NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Publishes DRAFT Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training), in late August, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor published draft versions of model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy.   The publication of these materials was in compliance with these agencies’ obligations under New York State’s new anti-harassment law. As a reminder, this law:

  • Prohibits employers from using a mandatory arbitration provision in an employment contract in relation to sexual harassment;
  • Requires that nondisclosure agreements can only be used when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim; and
  • Amends the Human Rights Law to protect contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or others providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Establishes minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and sexual harassment training. All employers operating in New York State must either adopt and use the State’s model policy and training as-is or use the models as a basis to establish their own policy and training.

Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released

NEW LAW: New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements For California Employers

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 1343 into law.  This new law makes several significant changes to California’s sexual harassment training requirements.

#1 Applies to more employers (and more employees too)

The most impactful change to the sexual harassment training requirements is that the requirement has been extended to smaller employers and to all employees.

Under the new law, California employers with five or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment training.  This training must be provided to both nonsupervisory and supervisory employees (including all temporary and/or seasonal employees) as follows:

  • Existing Nonsupervisory Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training by January 1, 2020.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
  • Nonsupervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
  • Temporary or Seasonal Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked if the employee will work for less than six months.
    • NOTE: If the employee is employed by a temporary services employer, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.
  • Existing Supervisory Employees: At least two hours of sexual harassment training must be provided by January 1, 2020.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
    • NOTE: For employers who employ 50+ employees (i.e. those who were previously required to provide sexual harassment training to their supervisory employees), they are not required to comply with the January 1, 2020 training deadline.  Instead, they are still required to provide sexual harassment training to supervisory employees every two years.
  • Supervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 2 hours of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.

#2 DFEH Must Develop Online Training Program

Under the new law, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also required to develop two online training courses (one for supervisory employees and one for non-supervisory employees) and make them available on the DFEH website at no cost to the employer.  The programs must be interactive and include questions that a viewer is required to answer before he/she can continue the program.  Finally, the programs must be available in a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Employers are not going to be required to use these DFEH-developed training programs.

#3 What about the training program content?

It is important to note that the required content for the sexual harassment training programs has not changed.  This means that under existing (and the new law), the training programs for all employees must contain the following elements:

  • Information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment
  • Information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment.
  • Practical examples aimed at instructing employees in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation,
  • Information regarding abusive conduct (i.e. Bullying) and
  • Information regarding harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Also, the training must be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

Take Home For Employers

All California employers must take steps to ensure that they provide the newly required sexual harassment training to all employees.

NEW LAW: New Requirements For California Talent Agencies

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 2338 into law.  This new law places new training requirements for talent agency employers.

First, talent agencies must make educational materials regarding sexual harassment prevention, retaliation, and reporting resources to an adult artist within 90 days of the talent agency agreeing to represent that artist.  The materials must be in the language understood by that artist and must include, at a minimum, the components specified in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s Form 185.

In addition to the above materials, talent agencies must also provide the artist with educational materials regarding nutrition and eating disorders within 90 days of the talent agency agreeing to represent that artist.  The materials must be in the language understood by that artist and must include, at a minimum, the components specified in the National Institute of Health’s Eating Disorders Web site (www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml).

Finally, prior to issuing an entertainment work permit to a minor (between 14 to 17 years of age), the parent/legal guardian and the minor must receive and complete training in sexual harassment prevention, retaliation, and reporting resources.  The training must be administered by a third-party vendor, on-site, electronically, via Internet Web site, or other means. The training must be in the language understood by that the minor and his guardian and must include, at a minimum, the components specified in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s Form 185.

This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

NEW LAW: Maine’s New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Under the Maine Human Rights Act, Maine employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment training as follows:

  • All new employees – within one year of the hire date and
  • All new or newly promoted supervisory employees — within 1 year of being hired or promoted into a supervisory or managerial position (this is additional training).

This training requirement has been in place for a number of years; however, in response to the #metoo movement, the Maine Human Rights Act was recently amended to add a new requirement for the Maine sexual harassment training.  Maine employers must now use a checklist prepared by the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to develop their sexual harassment training programs.

This checklist reminds employers that the new employee sexual harassment education and training program must be given within one year of commencement of employment and must include the following elements: Continue reading NEW LAW: Maine’s New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

NEW LAW: Sexual Harassment Training Now Required For Delaware Employees

On August 29, 2018, Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Bill 360 into law.  This new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, amends the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act by prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace and imposing new requirements regarding sexual harassment training on most Delaware employers.

The new law makes it clear that both sexual harassment and retaliation are prohibited in employment in Delaware.  Sexual harassment is defined as “conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”  Such conduct is unlawful where:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an employee’s employment;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an employee; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Continue reading NEW LAW: Sexual Harassment Training Now Required For Delaware Employees

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. Continue reading NEW POSTER:  NYC Publishes New Sexual Harassment Poster

New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws

In a strong response to the #MeToo movement, New York State and New York City recently enacted significant amendments to the state and city human rights laws to add detailed requirements for the adoption of a sexual harassment prevention program, including mandatory sexual harassment policies, posters, and training programs.

New York State Law

Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

Continue reading New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws

$800,000+ Reasons to Curb Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace

With the #metoo movement continuing to make headlines, all US companies should be looking for ways to address (and prevent) sexual harassment in their workplace.  However, if the continuing media coverage of the “sexual harassment problem” has not convinced you, two recently EEOC settlements give employers $890,000 reasons to take immediate action.

EEOC v. Indi’s Fast Food Restaurant, Inc., and Evanczyk Brothers, LLC

On January 8, 2018, the EEOC issued a press release announcing that this case (a 15-plaintiff case) had settled for $340,000.  According to the EEOC, managers of four of this restaurant chain’s locations subjected the plaintiffs (many of whom were minors at the time they worked for the restaurant) to “long-standing sexual harassment, including requests for sexual favors, sexually offensive comments and unwanted sexual touching.”

In addition to paying this settlement, the company must also take the following measures:

  • Provide letters of apology to the women,
  • Implement new policies,
  • Conduct extensive training for employees and management,
  • Post an anti-discrimination notice at all workplaces, and
  • Report compliance to the EEOC for a five-year period.

EEOC v. The GEO Group, Inc.

On the same day, the EEOC issued a second a press release announcing that this case (a class action case) had settled for $550,000.  According to the EEOC, female employees were subjected to a pattern and practice of sexual harassment (including sexual assault) between 2006 and 2012.  The harassment included the following type of behavior:

  • Sexual assault

o   A male manager grabbing and pinching the breasts and crotch of a female correctional officer, and

o   A male employee forcing a female employee onto a desk, shoving her legs apart, and kissing her.

  • Verbal harassment

o   Male officers asking female officers for sex,

o   A male officer calling a female officer “bitch” and “f—ing bitch” daily,

o   Supervisors and officers making sexually explicit comments (including “All I want to see of you is the top of your head bobbing up and down while you are on your knees”) to female officers.

o   A supervisor frequently saying that women should be barefoot and pregnant.

o   A male employee making gestures while talking dirty, and

o   Officers using profanity

  • Unwanted physical contact

The female employees also faced retaliation (e.g. discipline, forced resignation, termination, or placement in unsafe conditions in the prison) when they complained about the harassment.

In addition, to paying this settlement, the company must also take the following measures:

  • Send letters of regret to the women and provide employment references for them.
  • Review its equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies,
  • Ensure that all complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation are immediately and thoroughly investigated by a neutral employee,
  • Ensure that the complainant is informed of the results of the investigation
  • Designate certain alleged harassers as ineligible for rehire,
  • Post notices of the consent decree in its Florence facilities,
  • Conduct anti-discrimination training, and
  • Include EEO compliance when evaluating its managers.

Take Home For Employers

These recent settlements send two very important messages to employers.

Most importantly, employers should know that they cannot “stick their heads in the sand” when in receipt of a sexual harassment complaint (or when they have knowledge of potential sexual harassment – regardless of whether a complaint has been made).  Instead, employers must conduct investigations into these situations and take steps to address sexual harassment.  To ignore sexual harassment in the workplace will prove expensive to employers.

Also, these cases show that the EEOC (and state agencies) take this type of claim very seriously and will aggressively pursue charges of sexual harassment.