New York’s sexual-harassment prevention law

New York requires all employers in the state to have comprehensive sexual harassment prevention policies in place with a corresponding, annual training for all employees. Specifically, any person who works in New York at any time during the year must receive thorough sexual harassment prevention training to correspond with the mandatory policy.

New York’s sexual harassment law requires all employers to adopt a sexual harassment policy that meets or exceeds the state requirements. The Department of Labor has made it straightforward to comply by writing a model policy any employer can adapt. Once completed, the policy must be distributed to all employees. This can be done electronically as long as the employees have the ability to print it out. Signed acknowledgment is not necessary, but recommended.

The law stipulates what your sexual harassment prevention policy must include. In addition to information about examples of unlawful harassment and information on relevant federal and state laws, you also must provide a complaint form and a procedure for timely and confidential investigations of complaints that guarantees due process for all parties.

After adopting a sexual harassment prevention policy that meets the state’s requirements, every employer will need to conduct an annual training on those policies and procedures for all employees. While employees will not be required to sign a form documenting the completion of the training—much like acknowledgement of the training—it is recommended. New employees are required to be trained within 30 days of hiring.

The training must be comprehensive and must be interactive in some way. You must include information, such as an explanation of what sexual harassment is, examples of unlawful harassment and information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all the forums available for adjudicating complaints.

This law also extended the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment complaint with the Division of Human Rights from one year to three years.

All New York employers were to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy in January 2019 and train all employees as of Oct. 9, 2019. If you need help ensuring your business has the appropriate insurance coverage, give our office a call. We can provide more information, and discuss how your employment practices liability coverage may protect you.

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