NYS Releases Releases Model Sexual Harassment Policy
The New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights released a model sexual harassment policy and complaint form that employers may adopt, to comply with the new State law intended to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. The State is soliciting comments until September 12, 2018 regarding this policy, so it is technically just a draft.
Employers must adopt sexual harassment policies that meet minimum standards by October 2018. According to the FAQ’s, “all employees must complete the model training (link) or a comparable training that meets the minimum standards (link) by January 1, 2019.” Employers are not required to use the model policy created by the State as long as their policy meets state guidelines.
Employers training programs must meet minimum standards to comply with the new state law. They must, for instance, be interactive and not in a purely lecture format. They must contain an explanation of sexual harassment and examples of sexually harassing conduct, so that it is clear for employees to understand what type of conduct is considered to be unlawful. Training must include information concerning employee’s rights to file complaints, and all of the different agencies and forums for filing complaints of sexual harassment. There must also be information about how to file a complaint if the employee’s supervisor is engaging in the improper conduct.
What are the next steps?
Comments are being accepted until September 12, 2018. After that, there may be some changes to the model policy and other guidance, based on the comments the agency receives.
Please feel free to contact Law Office of Laura Wong-Pan PLLC with any questions related to sexual harassment in the workplace, including training and preventive practices.