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New York Releases Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Requirements

The much anticipated draft models of the sexual harassment policy and training have finally been released. The New York State Department of Labor has also released their website “Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” The website contains information for employers and employees, as well as FAQs that explain the minimum standards required for the policy and training.

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How HR Works Can Help

HR Works should be your go to resource for the New York State Sexual Harassment requirements that go into effect October 9, 2018. HR Works will be offering both on-site and web-based sexual harassment training as well as a compliant sample policy and complaint form. We will provide additional information once the final requirements are released.

The requirements for both the policy and training mandates are outlined below.

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Policy Requirements

The sexual harassment policy must include the following:

  • a strong statement which indicates that the employer has “zero tolerance” for any form of sexual harassment;
  • prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights;
  • provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
  • a complaint form;
  • a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties;
  • inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
  • clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
  • clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.

Training Requirements

All New York State employers are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees on an annual basis beginning October 9, 2018. All employees need to be trained by January 1, 2019 and new employees must receive the training within 30 calendar days of the start of their employment.

The training must include the following:

  • an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights;
  • examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
  • information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints;
  • information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors; and
  • be interactive for participants.

Comment Period

New York State is looking for your comments on the draft policy, training and compliant form. The comment period ends September 12, 2018. Employers and employees are encouraged to submit comments.

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HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.