Changes in New York Sexual Harassment Training Requirement In Response to Social Pressure
In response to the on going avalanche of sexual harassment suits, New York State is finally taking a very aggressive approach to this on going problem. The New York government is mandating employers to schedule mandatory annual sexual harassment seminar training, covering all employees. Until now, sexual harassment training in New York State workplaces were given at the direction or whim of the employer, which means there was not a lot of training in this area, due to the cost in time and money. However, the new law went into effect on October 9, 2019, stipulating that this training will no longer be optional. Employers will be required to provide training to all employees at least once each year, with a specific curriculum.
Employer’s who are already in the habit of providing these seminars to staff, will likely already be in compliance with the new state-mandated requirements. However, it is recommended to have a specialist review your current sexual harassment policy and training curriculum to make sure all the essential elements are included, ensuring your company will be in full compliance of the new law.
The mandated curriculum is very straightforward. Your companies training must include an explanation of what constitutes sexual harassment with illustrative and roll-playing examples of inappropriate workplace conduct. This law also requires the employer to provide detailed information on federal, state, and local laws including a description of the legal rights and resources available to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. This should be followed by specific training that clearly illustrates the victims’ rights, and how the grievance and remedy process works. The reporting process training should clearly spell out the available administrative and judicial avenues for submitting a formal complaint.
Also mandated in the training, the employer must have a formal written prevention policy in place to be sent to all employees, signed off by new hires and must contain certain specific items. In addition to the information that is included in the training (as suggested above), the employer’s prevention policy will need to contain: a complaint form with procedures for a timely and confidential investigation process. It is also noteworthy that any retaliation will immediately be addressed and stopped, using the model of a zero tolerance policy. A properly written & enforced retaliation policy is very crucial.
We strongly suggest the company’s HR director review their company’s sexual harassment curriculum, handouts and guidelines, along with specific policies and procedures related to these issues. If you do not have a formally written policy in place, or have not made required information policies and guidelines available to your staff, it is essential you take these steps. It is imperative that these essential informational packets are distributed to every employee, who must sign off saying that they have received them. It is also imperative that all questions and comments be addressed by human resources or a manager.
New York State has provided a model training curriculum that you can use in formulating your Sexual Harassment Training Program.
MVP Seminars & EHT training can provide direction in formulating your curriculum & addressing any questions you might have. Click Here to book one of our certified sexual harassment trainers now!
Following the New York state mandates, now New York City is also focusing on this important topic and prepping what will be one of the country’s most stringent anti-sexual harassment laws. Known as the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, it contains many of the same items as the state’s law but also insists that city-based employers with over 15 employees conduct interactive training for everyone, including interns.
This is very similar to the mandated harassment laws required in California.This law must also provide information on employee bystander intervention, which requires anyone in a management position to undergo additional training. As the pervasive NY training law, NY city requires extensive training & understanding regarding the Zero-Tolerance approach & retaliation.
Any new employee will need to be trained within the first three months of employment. Employers will also need to keep on file for at least three years both training records and employee-signed acknowledgement forms that they’ve received the training, and any follow-up monitoring Harassment training, over & beyond requirements.
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