October 9th Deadline for New York Employers to Adopt Sex Harassment Prevention Policy and Complaint Form

New York State Labor Law now requires all employers in New York State—regardless of size– to adopt and provide a sexual harassment prevention policy to employees by October 9, 2018, that includes a complaint form for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment.

New Model Policy:  New York State Department of Labor and New York State Division of Human Rights have created a model sexual harassment prevention policy and complaint form that employers may use to comply with the law.  An employer’s sex harassment prevention policy must meet or exceed the minimum standards of New York State’s model policy.

New Deadline for Conducting Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: October 9, 2019:  All employers in New York State must conduct interactive sexual harassment prevention training of their employees by October 9, 2019, giving them an additional year to create their training programs, and then must conduct trainings on an annual basis thereafter.  New York State has issued minimum standards for sex harassment prevention training and a model training as well.

New York City enacted its own sex harassment policy and training requirements, effective April 1, 2019, for employers with 15 or more employees.  Those requirements include conducting a separate training for supervisors setting out their special responsibilities under the law, addressing bystander intervention, and training new employees within 90 days of hire.  As a reminder, by September 6, 2018, New York City employers were required to post a notice of anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities in employee breakrooms and employee common areas in English and Spanish and distribute an information sheet to all new hires regarding sexual harassment and their rights.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy Notice:  New York State has also issued a sexual harassment prevention policy notice to be displayed in the workplace.  The notice informs employees of the sex harassment prevention policy and who to contact at the employer if an employee has a complaint of sexual harassment.

New York State FAQ:  The New York State FAQ indicates that employers should provide the policy and training in the employees’ primary language.  For instance, New York employers with Spanish-speaking employees should have their sex harassment prevention policy translated into Spanish and training should also be conducted in Spanish.  New York State expects to translate its model policy template at some point into Spanish but that version is not yet posted on New York State’s website.  If the State templates are not in the employee’s primary language, then the employer may provide a policy and training only in English.

Recommendations: Employers in New York State should issue their updated sex harassment prevention policies (and complaint form) to employees by October 9, 2018 if they have not already done so, schedule training, and post the sexual harassment policy notices.

Our employment law department conducts sexual harassment prevention trainings that comply with New York State and New York City’s mandates. Please contact Lisa Brauner, Head of Perlman & Perlman LLP’s Employment Law Practice, at: lisa@nullperlmanandperlman.com or 212-889-0575 to schedule a training (and update the employee handbook) for your organization.


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