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New York State Updates its Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Materials

19 Apr

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in New York State.

What happened?
On April 11, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the release of updated versions of New York State’s sexual harassment model policy and training materials.

What are the details?
Since October 9, 2018, and pursuant to New York Labor Law § 201-g, employers must maintain a sexual harassment policy and conduct annual employee training. The law requires that in 2022, and every four years thereafter, the New York Department of Labor (DOL) and New York State Division of Human Rights would evaluate the impact of the current model guidance and policy and update both as needed. Accordingly, the DOL this year released a proposed model policy on January 12 that had a 30-day public comment period and has now released the final documents with updated resources.

In addition to a new model policy, New York’s “Combating Sexual Harassment” resource page has been changed to include new toolkits for workers and employers, updated Frequently Asked Questions, as well as a new training slide deck and accompanying script and other assets that businesses can utilize for employee training purposes to ensure compliance. Much of the policy and training materials will look familiar to employers, but significant changes exist. By way of example only, the toll-free, confidential hotline is referenced, there is a discussion on bystander intervention, and there are updated case scenarios (including those in a remote environment).

As a reminder, New York law requires employers to provide all employees with the following:

  1. A sexual harassment and workplace discrimination prevention policy;
  2. Annual sexual harassment and discrimination prevention training; and
  3. A copy of the policy on paper or by email during the hiring and annually during training.

For more information, please see the links below:

Hochul Announcement

Updated Resources

Model Prevention Policy

Article  

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, carefully review the latest materials, and update their policies and training materials accordingly. Additionally, while the model policy and training materials mention other protected classifications in short form, employers should consider developing materials that provide more comprehensive information on all protected classifications instead of a focus on sexual harassment only.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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