September 4, 2019
Legislators in New York have passed several initiatives to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Recently, the state’s Senate passed a budget bill to strengthen and reform sexual harassment laws—including requirements for employers to provide sexual harassment training in New York to all employees. Here is a guide to help you understand what the requirements are and how to distribute them appropriately throughout your business.
Budget Bill Details
The latest budget bill, which will take effect in October 2019, provides an amendment to the New York Labor Law requiring all employers to implement a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide sexual harassment prevention training each year to every employee. The budget bill also requires the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Division of Human Rights to develop a model sexual harassment policy.
Employers can choose to adopt these models or create their own policy standards (these standards must meet or exceed those in the models).
Harassment Policy Requirements
Under the new budget bill, there are several requirements employers must follow if they are going to implement their own mandatory sexual harassment training policy. The policy must provide a statement about prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. There needs to be examples of what conduct constitutes sexual harassment and information regarding what statute provisions and federal and state laws are available to victims, and a statement about additional local laws that may be beneficial to them.
Company policies concerning sexual harassment training must include a standard complaint form that outlines all procedures regarding the investigation of complaints. There should be a statement detailing the rights of employees to compensation and what forums are available for resolving sexual harassment complaints at work and in court. The policy must state that sexual harassment is a type of employee misconduct. The policy should say that sanctions will be enforced against employees who engage in such behavior and managers or supervisors who knowingly allowed said behavior to continue. Lastly, the policy needs to make clear that retaliation against anyone who reports sexual harassment or assists an investigation in any way is illegal.
Harassment Training Requirements and Benefits
The law requires that sexual harassment training programs for New York organizations need to be interactive. In-person and online sexual harassment training must explain what sexual harassment is and provide examples of what type of behaviors constitute sexual harassment. This will help employees recognize these behaviors among coworkers and management. Training should provide information regarding federal and state laws and provisions against sexual harassment and what help is available to victims locally. This may help employees being harassed have more courage to speak up to trusting coworkers and managers. Coworkers and managers can then help coworkers get the protections they need from the harasser. Sexual harassment training in New York businesses needs to inform employees of their rights to compensation and what forums are available to them where they can report and resolve complaints. This offers individuals being sexually harassed at work a safety net where they can talk about what is happening and get the help they need to make the harassment stop.
If you are interested in finding out more about the latest sexual harassment laws in New York, visit Impact Compliance Training’s website or call us at 888-878-0710.