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New York City Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Law Set to take Effect April 1st

Pursuant to the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act, employers with 15 or more employees must conduct annual interactive sexual harassment training starting April 1, 2019.  To help employers determine training obligations under the Act, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)document.  A summary is provided below:

Employer Coverage

Employers with 15 or more employees in the previous calendar year must provide sexual harassment training to staff, including managerial employees, employed in the city of New York.  If an employer determines that it has or has had at least 15 employees at any point during the previous calendar year, training is required. Importantly, independent contractors– regardless of the number of days or hours worked– are considered “employees” for purposes of this calculation.

Employee Coverage

Employers are required to train employees who: (a) work more than 80 hours in a calendar year, and (b) work for at least 90 days.

Employers are required to train independent contractors who have performed work in furtherance of the business for more than 90 days and more than 80 hours in a calendar year.

Interactivity

Training must be “interactive.” Online training may suffice, provided employees participate. Web-based training that allows employees to answer questions or submit questions and receive timely feedback will likely satisfy the interactive requirement.

Training Frequency

Training is required each calendar year, regardless of the timing of the last training. Re-training is not required until the next annual cycle for employees who have already received training from another employer for the current cycle.

Training Materials

The Commission has indicated it will develop training materials in conjunction with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York Department of Labor. Employers are free to develop their own training, provided it meets or exceeds the requirements of the Act. Those requirements include:

  • Explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
  • Statement that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
  • Examples of sexual harassment;
  • An internal complaint process;
  • Complaint process available through the Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the EEOC, including contact information;
  • Prohibition on retaliation with examples;
  • Information about bystander intervention;
  • Managerial responsibilities.

Recordkeeping

Employers must keep a record of all trainings, including signed employee acknowledgements for up to three years.

State Legislation

Employers must also comply with new New York State sexual harassment legislation that requires sexual harassment training by October 9, 2019.   Requirements for training and policies under State law can be found here.

 

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