The time is finally here for all New York businesses to take action in response to the epidemic of sexual harassment claims in our country. As of October 9, 2018, New York State has adopted new labor laws in a robust effort to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Said laws have been implemented by the New York State Department of Labor (“NYDOL”). As such, NYDOL has provided guidance, resources, and updated compliance information, based on the notice and comment period prior to the law’s effective date.
The two main requirements of the new anti-harassment labor law are as follows:
1) Regarding Policy: As of October 9, 2018, every employer in New York State is required to establish, implement, and distribute a sexual harassment prevention policy.
2) Regarding Training: every employer in New York State is required to provide employees and managers with annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training by October 9, 2019.
NYDOL provided templates on a model sexual harassment prevention policy and a complaint form. It also has made available for employers an updated frequently asked questions worksheet, training and policy requirement mandates, the poster of rights, and a compliance toolkit. Follow the link for all the details. https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers
What should employers do now?
It is clear that the legally compliant anti-sexual harassment policies and accompanying complaint form must be implemented and disseminated to all as of October 9, 2018; that new employees should get the policy and complaint form, prior to working, and be trained as soon as possible (not within 30 days); and that mandatory annual, interactive training of all employees and managers must be conducted by October 9, 2019 (as opposed to January 2019).
Therefore, all employers should: review, so as to ensure that their anti-harassment policies, procedures, and complaint forms comply with NYDOL’s minimal compliance requirements; translate those policies, procedures and complaint forms into all necessary languages for their workplace, provide the anti-harassment policies, procedures, and complaint forms to all employees, including new employees prior to starting to work, prominently display the rights poster, and implement an annual anti-harassment training program, that complies with the minimal NYDOL requirements by October 9, 2019.
It is of note, that Companies that are located in NYC, must also be aware of the additional requirements that are in New York City’s Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. This new law takes effect on April 1, 2019.
Nicole Sorokolit Croddick is Counsel at Davison, Eastman, Muñoz, Lederman & Paone, P.A., where she focuses her practice on employment and labor matters. She consults companies on human resources issues and has conducted internal investigations on ethical and legal violations. She also conducts anit-harassment and other compliance trainings. Contact Nicole Croddick.