New York’s Anti-Harassment Compliance Guide
New York State is taking the lead on enacting laws to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
As a New York State Employer, it’s critical to update your policies and training materials to reflect and emphasize anti-harassment policies.
To help ensure you remain compliant with these state regulations, we’ve gathered everything you need to know to provide a harassment-free workplace. The following is an outline of the New York State laws surrounding anti-harassment compliance, including training, retaliation, and other related workplace requirements.
New York Training Requirements
New York Human Rights Law — Statewide
According to N.Y. Labor Law § 201-g and effective as of October 9, 2018, every employer must implement a sexual harassment training program and provide it to employees on an annual basis.
All employers, regardless of size, must train all employees.
Effective January 1, 2019, all state contractors must certify under penalty of perjury that annual sexual harassment prevention training was provided to all employees, including out-of-state employees.
All employees must receive training, regardless of immigration status, including:
- Exempt or nonexempt employees;
- Part-time workers;
- Seasonal workers; and
- Temporary workers.
All employees must complete the model training or a comparable training that meets the minimum standards.
Note: New employees should be trained as quickly as possible.
The training must be interactive and include these elements:
- An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights.
- Examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
- Information on the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
- Information on employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.
- Information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.
All training must be interactive, which, according to the law, requires some form of participation. Examples of interactive training include:
- Web-based training with questions asked of employees as part of the program.
- Training that accommodates questions asked by employees.
- Training that includes a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions.
- Training that requires feedback from employees (about the training and the materials presented).
Employees must be trained at least once per year. In subsequent years, this may be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.
Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.
Employers must also provide employees with a written notice, in English and in an employee’s primary language, containing the employer’s sexual harassment prevention policy and the information presented at the prevention training program. This notice must be provided upon hire and at every annual sexual harassment prevention training the employer provides.
An employer’s sexual harassment prevention policy must include an anti-retaliation provision.
New York City Human Rights Law — New York City
Effective April 1, 2019, all private employers with 15 or more employees in New York City must conduct annual, interactive anti-sexual-harassment training for all employees each calendar year. This includes training for interns, managerial employees, and supervisory employees. Training will be required after the 90th day of employment for employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year on a full-time or part-time basis.
Note: New York State law covers New York City employees. Where the state law provides greater protections or requirements, the state law supersedes New York City law.
All private employers with 15 or more employees in New York City are required to conduct training.
All employees of covered employers, including interns, managers, and supervisors, who work more than 80 hours per calendar year on a full-time or part-time basis must be trained.
An employee who has received anti-sexual-harassment training through one employer within the required training cycle will not be required to receive additional training at another employer until the next cycle.
Training must be interactive and include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local, state, and federal law.
- A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law.
- A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples.
- Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims.
- The complaint process is available through the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information.
- The prohibition of retaliation, and examples.
- Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention.
- The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.
All training must be interactive and must consist of participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in a trainer-trainee interaction, use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program, or other participatory forms of training as determined by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. However, interactive training is not required to be live or facilitated by an in-person instructor.
Contractors and subcontractors that apply for city contracts must include their sexual harassment prevention employment practices, policies, and procedures as part of their existing reporting requirements.
Training must be provided annually.
Training on retaliation is not required. However, employers may not retaliate against an individual who opposes discrimination, files a complaint, testifies in an enforcement action, or assists in an investigation.
Notice and Posting
As of September 6, 2018, all New York City employers must:
- Conspicuously post a workplace poster, in English and Spanish, of employees’ rights under the Human Rights Law. The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) provides the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice to fulfill this requirement.
- At the time of hire, provide to individual employees a written notice of their rights under the Human Rights Law. The NYCCHR provides the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet to fulfill this requirement.
Employers must keep a record of all training for at least three years. Such records must be made available to the NYCCHR for inspection upon request and may be a certificate or a signed employee acknowledgment. The records may be paper or electronic.
Want to learn more about staying compliant with New York State regulations? Be sure to check out our recent post on New York COVID-19 Sick Leave Guidance for Employers.
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