Is your company compliant with New York State and New York City’s Sexual Harassment Requirements?
Sexual Harassment Requirements in New York City and State
Both the city and state of New York have their own sexual harassment regulations, which can be confusing to employers. The regulation that is most favorable to employees needs to be adhered to and at a minimum, employers need to do the following:
- As of September 6, 2018, all new hires in NY City need to be given the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, in English and Spanish, no later than the end of their first week of work. These notices also need to be posted in the office.
- Starting October 9, 2018, all new hires in NY State need to receive the company policy “upon hire.” Obviously, the policy should be in the employee handbook, and we recommend to our clients that employees receive the handbook on their first day of work, so that typically takes care of this requirement.
Major note here before we get into the breakdown between NY State and City: both regs require training on sexual harassment only. We strongly recommend our clients train their employees on harassment/discrimination inclusive of all protected classes (race, color, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) not just sex.
Under NY State’s Reg:
- All New York employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training that meets or exceeds the minimum standards under the law by no later than October 9, 2019, after which future training must be completed on an annual basis. To clarify “annual,” employers can track completion based on the calendar year, the anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.
- Only employees who work or will work in New York State need to be trained; however, if an individual works a portion of their time in New York State, even if they’re based in another state, they must be trained. We recommend our clients apply training company-wide, not just in their NY offices, so they don’t fall through any loopholes. Plus its good practice for employees to be trained annually, even in states where it’s not legally required.
- Originally, the draft guidance on the regulation stated new hires must be trained within 30 days from their start date, but the final guidance reads “as soon as possible.” We assume businesses won’t get much leeway past 30 days and recommend employers sign up all new hires up for training their first two weeks of employment to cover this requirement.
Under NY City’s Reg:
- Starting on April 1, 2019, businesses operating in New York City are required to conduct annual anti-harassment training for all employees in their NYC offices; they have one year from this date to implement.
- New employees who work 80 or more hours per year, on a full or part-time basis, in NYC must be trained after 90 days of hire unless the employee received training within the same annual cycle from a prior employer. Since it will likely be difficult, logistically, to know if a former employer’s training met the City’s requirement, we recommend that NYC employers train all new employees.