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New NY sexual harassment prevention requirements will begin to go into effect. Here’s what you need to know.

Posted on: September 13th, 2018 | Category: Our Blog

New York State sexual harassment trainingNew York State’s 2019 budget created substantial additional sexual harassment prevention responsibilities for employers, the first of which go into effect on October 9, 2018. The new state requirements include rules on the content and wording of specific policy statements and on how employers conduct annual training for all employees in compliance with state regulations and guidelines.

To help employers meet the requirements under the new laws, New York State recently launched a new website called Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace that provides draft models of sexual harassment prevention policy, training documents, FAQs and other resources, although many of these items are not finalized at this time.

The myHR Partner team will continue to closely follow as these new regulations are rolled out, and we are prepared to help keep our New York clients (as well as clients nationwide) stay compliant with all sexual harassment regulations while maintaining productive workplace environments.

New York’s New Anti-Sexual-Harassment Policy Guidelines Are Much More Specific

By October 9, 2018, all New York State employers must have a sexual harassment policy that is compliant with the new laws. Policies must include many compliance elements, including:

  • A statement prohibiting sexual harassment
  • An explanation and examples of prohibited sexual harassment
  • Information on federal and state statutes prohibiting sexual harassment
  • A statement that local anti-sexual harassment laws may apply
  • Remedies and rights of redress under the applicable statutes
  • Company procedure for reporting and timely investigation of complaint
  • A complaint form
  • A prohibition on retaliation
  • A statement that sanctions will be enforced against those who engage in sexual harassment and managers and supervisors who knowingly allow sexual harassment

In addition to the above, all sexual harassment prevention policies must be provided in either hard copy or electronic form, and must also be accessible and printable during working hours.

New York Now Requires Annual Sexual Harassment Prevention Training For All

By January 1, 2019, New York employers must also make sure that all employees receive sexual harassment training that is compliant with the new laws. These trainings will be required on an annual basis after that. New employees who begin work after the first of the year must receive the compliant sexual harassment training within 30 days of being hired. Temporary and transient employees must also receive this training, even if they work in the state for just one day.

sexual harassment trainingThe new sexual harassment training sessions must have the following elements to be compliant:

  • An interactive component, such as: asking questions of the employees as part of the program, a Q&A portion to accommodate employee questions, use of a live trainer to conduct the training or to answer questions, and/or requiring employee feedback about the training
  • An explanation and examples of prohibited sexual harassment
  • Information on federal and state statutes prohibiting sexual harassment
  • An description of remedies and rights of redress under the applicable statutes
  • An explanation of added responsibilities for supervisory employees

We have previously blogged about how ineffective harassment training can hurt your organization, so these new guidelines will be helpful in explaining what must be covered. Making sure the training sessions are clearly heard and effective will still be up to the employer, however. “Our sexual harassment prevention training programs are very well received, and I think that is because we fine-tune them to speak to real concerns and scenarios that happen in workplaces,” says Tina Hamilton, PHR, SPHR, president and CEO of myHR Partner. “When you engage your audience, you can impress upon them in ways you can’t when presenters are simply phoning it in.”

We are watching with keen interest to see how the final versions play out and are interpreted by businesses in the months ahead.

What You Can Learn From New York’s New Regulations

Even if you are not operating a business in New York State, you need to keep your organization protected from sexual harassment claims, and the costly litigation and brand damage that come along with them. We offer modern, engaging and effective sexual harassment prevention training for employees and management, and we customize the experience to make sure it meets your organization’s unique needs and compliance requirements. Our team of experienced, well-versed HR experts can also assist you with updating and maintaining your workplace policies and environments to help keep employees feeling respected, safe and happy. Contact us today to find out more.

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