As we have written about previously, this past Spring the New York State Legislature and New York City Council adopted broad new requirements to combat workplace gender-based harassment. Adopted in April and May by the New York General Assembly and New York City Council, respectively, the sweeping sexual harassment laws represent a renewed and comprehensive program to end workplace sexual harassment.
In addition, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published a mandated sexual harassment poster, which is now required to be posted conspicuously, both in English and Spanish, in covered workplaces.
In order to implement these requirements, on August 23, 2018 the New York State Department of Labor issued for public comment a draft sexual harassment training program, a checklist of minimum standards for compliant sexual-harassment policies, and a list of FAQs. Those materials can be found here. Those draft materials stated that all employees in New York State would have to be trained by January 1, 2019, a daunting task.
Following review of public comments, however, the Department of Labor published its final versions of these materials on October 1. Notably, one significant change moved the deadline for training employees from January 1 to October 9, 2019, a much-welcomed extension.
Although the training of employees need not be completed until this time next year, employers with employees working in New York State must still distribute to all employees working in New York a compliant sexual harassment policy by October 9, 2018 (i.e., today).
For covered employers with employees working in New York City, a separate New York City law will require additional annual sexual harassment training. New York City is expected to publish its model training program and policy by April 1. While most expect the training program to be similar to New York State’s program, there likely will be differences because the standards set by those two laws are different.
Employers with New York City employees may wish to consider postponing training until after April 1, 2019 and then combining the two training programs into one session (to reduce lost work-time).
Many still believe it prudent for covered employers with workers in New York State or City, and those seeking to bid on state contracts, to confer with their human resources partners and/or legal counsel to make sure they comply with these deadlines.