On October 9, 2018, New York will join California, Connecticut, and Maine as the fourth state in the nation to require mandatory training in sexual harassment prevention for all organizations with employees based in the state. New York City is doing its own part too, with additional training legislation going into effect in April 2019. (Not to worry about following two sets of training requirements, though—the New York State training requirements are expected to be essentially similar to those of NYC.)
These new laws are part of a comprehensive set of legislation passed on the heels of the #metoo movement. And while New York State hasn’t publicly released its model training program just yet, we at Grovo are working with our legal counsel to prepare for October 9. Here’s what you need to know.
A Dual Focus on Policy and Training
New York’s new laws will require all employers to begin a conversation about harassment with their employees through policies and training.
Policy Requirements: Starting October 9, businesses with any employees in New York State must have updated their policies to cover a new set of required areas, including information on state and federal harassment laws, a standard complaint form, an outline of the procedure for a timely and impartial investigation, and information about retaliation, among other items.
Training Requirements: In addition to these policy changes, all organizations with any employees in New York State will be required to provide mandatory training to all employees on harassment prevention, and to have a plan in place for conducting the training over the next year.
The specific training requirements are as yet fairly broad. That said, we know that every training must contain the following general components:
A definition of what sexual harassment is
Examples of what it looks like
An overview of state and federal laws related to sexual harassment
An overview of employees’ rights of redress
An overview of the employer’s complaint process
Information concerning bystander intervention (required in NYC)
New York’s new law also requires the New York State Division of Human Rights to provide a “model training” that will be publicly available for all employers to refer to. Employers will have the option to adopt this model training program directly or provide one of equivalent substance.
While New York hasn’t yet made its model training available (and there is no confirmed date when they will), we will continue working closely with our legal counsel and our customers to ensure that we’re compliant with New York’s regulations, as we already are for California, Connecticut, and Maine.
How You Can Get Started
As an employer, this is your opportunity not only to be compliant, but to examine your workplace’s culture and build stronger, more productive teams from the ground up. Our approach to sexual harassment training at Grovo eschews the tired scenarios and legalese of traditional training, instead grounding our offering in unconscious bias theory, effective approaches to bystander intervention, and the components of inclusive team-building.
While October is still a few months away, this is an important conversation that you’ll be initiating with your employees. It’s not too early to think about what you want to say. Join our webinar, Training in the Era of #metoo: Preparing for New York’s Sexual Harassment Laws, on Wednesday, September 12 to learn more about the requirements and get action items to prioritize before the 10/9 effective date. Reserve your spot now.
John Marshall is the Director of Content Strategy at Grovo. Grovo is building modern learning that employees actually like by delivering a constantly evolving library of customizable Microlearning® lessons through an easy-to-use platform.
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