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New York enforces sexual harassment prevention training

After almost a year after the #MeToo movement began, New York has begun implementing its newer policies to minimize the amount of sexual harassment in the workplace. Earlier in the summer, they passed several different laws that focus on nondisclosure agreements, notifying employers of the sexual harassment policy, and new training standards to keep the employees up to date on sexual harassment guidelines.

New York has become the fourth state behind Connecticut, Maine and California to require this type of training. It is important to know what requirements are expected for individuals in the state of New York as well as New York City as there are now stronger expectations of how individuals need to behave in the workplace

State training requirements

Beginning on October 9, all state employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to the workers annually. The training program must be equivalent to the state’s model prevention training program or exceed it.

The state’s model training program will include:

  • An explanation on the issue that matches with Department of Human Rights’ guidance.
  • Examples of sexual harassment
  • What charges the guilty party would face and what is available to victims
  • Information on employee rights and where to submit complaints

The model will be interactive, meaning that employees can take the class in person or online. Though the NYC Commission on Human Rights is developing their own interactive training that is available to employers for free, employers should consider providing extensive training on sexual harassment or other work issues like discrimination.

New York City requirements

New York City’s training laws has some differences from the state thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act. Their training rules begin on April 1, 2019 and requires companies with 15 or more employees to receive anti-sexual harassment training annually. This includes full- and part-time employees as well as interns. Additionally, new hires will have 90 days within their hire date to take the program.

The training must contain the following:

  • An explanation of how sexual harassment is illegal locally
  • A statement of how it breaks state and federal law
  • Examples of sexual harassment
  • Available and accessible employee complaint processes
  • The state’s Division of Human Rights and the U.S. EEOC contact information
  • How retaliation is prohibited
  • Details about bystander intervention
  • How employers and supervisors are responsible in taking measures to prevent sexual harassment and what employees can do when harassed

These new laws should help ensure that sexual harassment is minimized in the New York workplace, but there is no guarantee that it will eliminate all of it. If your employer fails to provide your colleagues with proper sexual harassment prevention training or you find yourself a victim of it from a co-worker, you should contact a local employment law firm to better understand your rights and file a claim for your misfortunes.

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