This informative article comes from the New York Law Journal.
Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Now Required in New York State
For years, fewer than a handful of states in the United States have required sexual harassment training. Connecticut and California were the leaders.
However, in light of the #MeToo movement, many states and localities are passing legislation mandating harassment training.
New York State and New York City have joined this movement and now require sexual harassment training.
New York State’s Sweeping Sexual Harassment Training
On April 12, 2018, New York Governor Cuomo signed the state budget, which mandates employers provide employees with annual sexual harassment training.
In 2018, employers must provide the training and a written anti-harassment policy to employees starting in October.
Contents of the Sexual Harassment Policy
The new law requires employers to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy which:
- Prohibits sexual harassment and provides examples of prohibited conduct;
- Includes information concerning federal and state sexual harassment laws and mentions there may be applicable local laws;
- Includes a standard complaint form;
- Includes a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints including due process for all parties;
- Informs employees of their rights of redress and available forums for adjudicating claims administratively and judicially;
- Clearly states sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory management who knowingly allow such behavior to continue;
- Clearly states retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceedings is unlawful.
The policy must be provided to employees in writing. Employers would be wise to include this policy in their orientation package. New York employers should informally and formally routinely remind employees of this policy.
Topics Training Must Cover
Employers must also provide interactive training that includes:
- An explanation of sexual harassment;
- Examples of sexual harassment;
- Information concerning the federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims;
- Information concerning employees’ rights of redress and forums for complaints.
Notably, the new law does not define what it means for the training to be interactive.
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