All employers with even a single employee working in New York City or New York State will be required to meet requirements designed to address sexual harassment under new city and state laws. Employers with an employee working in New York City must post a formal notice regarding harassment in a conspicuous location on their premises and distribute a harassment fact sheet to newly hired employees beginning September 6, 2018, and implement new training programs next April under a new city ordinance. Employers with an employee working in New York State must implement new harassment training effective October 9, 2018, under a new state law.
About the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act
The new posting and fact sheet requirements are part of New York City’s “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.” Both documents issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, provide information on the Act, as well as on what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report sexual harassment, and where to find additional resources.
The Act, enacted in May 2018, is a comprehensive legislative package aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act extended the New York City Human Rights Law’s sexual harassment protections to all workers at businesses of all sizes. Previously, only employers with five or more employees were covered. The Act also gives employees up to three years to report an incident after it has occurred, tripling the prior one-year statute of limitations.
In addition to posting these notices, beginning April 1, 2019, the Act will require employers with 15 or more employees to provide annual training on sexual harassment for all employees working in New York City. Note that the law is not restricted to businesses based in New York, even though the training requirements only apply to employees working in New York. Note also that interns count toward the 15-employee threshold. The training must be interactive and must address specific topics, including what constitutes sexual harassment, how to navigate the complaint process, bystander intervention training, and manager responsibilities. More information about the New York City requirements is available in our previous practice update.
New State Law Compliance Deadlines
Additionally, although the New York City training requirement does not go into effect until April 2019, employers should be aware that the New York State training requirements, which apply to all employers operating in New York regardless of size take effect October 9, 2018. Again, the law is not restricted to businesses based in New York, but the training requirements only apply to employees working in New York. The state also requires all employers to implement and distribute a written anti-sexual-harassment policy, complete with a standard complaint form, by that date. The State Division of Human Rights has indicated that it will publish a model policy and complaint form, but has not yet done so. More information about the New York State requirements is available in our previous practice update.
While the training requirements of the City and State laws are similar, there are differences. Properly navigating and implementing these training requirements will be crucial for employers to ensure compliance once the laws take effect.
Akerman’s Labor & Employment team has developed a training program for employers that covers the New York State and New York City requirements, and is available to assist in tailoring individual programs to suit employers’ needs.