NY Employers Need To Comply With New Sexual Harassment Policies

What changes should be made to my employee handbook to conform to new NYC laws?

The #MeToo movement has awakened the nation to the ongoing problem of sexual harassment. In an effort to end sexual harassment in the workplace, lawmakers in New York and New York City have passed a series of laws that will apply to employers of all sizes. Failure to comply with such laws could leave NYC employers vulnerable to litigation. It is imperative that New York employers consult with an employment law attorney right away to ensure their company policies comply with new state and local laws.

NYC Employers Must Notify Employees of the Sexual Harassment Policy

New York City employers must legally notify their employees of their sexual harassment policy starting this month. By September 6, New York City employers should have placed on display a poster in both English and Spanish notifying employees about their anti-sexual harassment rights. Additionally, employers must distribute an NYC Commission on Human Rights fact sheet about sexual harassment to all existing and new employees.

By early October, all employers in the state of New York will need to have a written sexual harassment policy in place which must be provided to every employee. Sexual harassment policies should include the following

  • A clear prohibition on sexual harassment and examples of conduct that will constitute illegal sexual harassment;

  • Information as to federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment and remedies for harassment;

  • A standard complaint form;

  • The procedure for investigating complaints;

  • Rights of redress for the adjudication of sexual harassment complaints;

  • A statement informing employees that sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and employees who engage in it or managers that allow it will face sanctions;

  • Rules banning retaliation against anyone who complains of sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Training

New York state employers will need to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis starting this October. Employers can use a model sexual harassment training course provided by the state or create their own, so long as it complies with state standards. Larger employers will need to provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training by early next year.

These are just a few of the many law changes that will impact New York employers when it comes to employee policies concerning sexual harassment. Employers across the state need to take action now to ensure they are in compliance with ever shifting state and local laws. Contact an employment law attorney today for a thorough review of your company’s policies.