New sexual harassment prevention training requirements for New York and New York City

Following California, Maine, and several other states, New York signed new legislature in April 2018 that will enforce more stringent sexual harassment prevention measures, many of which center around effective prevention training. With a nationwide push to respond to the #MeToo movement and increased discourse around sexual harassment in the workplace, state and local governments want to ensure a comfortable and safe work environment for all.

In addition to the state requirements, New York City passed a separate set of 11 bills called the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.” Though the laws are generally in alignment, there are some subtle differences. With so many changes, organizations like yours understandably may have questions regarding the new requirements.

This simple guide will help you better understand the training requirements for both New York and New York City, introduce you to applicable elearning courses, and help you prepare your organization to comply with the new laws.

Specific training for employees and supervisors comprises a large portion of the new laws. However, additional steps outside of training are required of employers to ensure full compliance. Here are a few examples of the new non-training requirements:

    • Creation of company sexual harassment policies and prevention programs.

    • Distribution of written anti-harassment policies in the workplace.

    • Expanded protections against sexual harassment to “non-employees” including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract.

New York state training requirements – effective 9 October 2018

All New York employers are required to establish a training program and distribute a harassment policy in writing to employees on at least an annual basis. The deadline for the initial round of training is 9 October 2019.

Training must be interactive and include:

    • An explanation of what constitutes sexual harassment.

    • Examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.

    • Information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.

    • Information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.

    • Information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities of such supervisors.

New York City training requirements – effective 1 April 2019

One of the new laws requires private employers with 15 or more employees (including interns) to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees, including supervisory and managerial employees.

The annual training must be interactive and include:

    • An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law.

    • A statement that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under federal and state law.

    • A description of what sexual harassment is.

    • The complaint process available through the commission on human rights, the division of human rights, and the United State equal employment opportunity commission, including contact information.

    • The prohibition of retaliation and examples of retaliation.

    • Information concerning bystander intervention, including how to engage in bystander intervention.

    • Supervisors and managers must also be trained on their specific responsibilities in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and how to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.

Additional NYC training considerations, not covered in elearning courses:
    • The employer’s internal complaint process for sexual harassment claims needs to be communicated to employees.

    • New employees must complete training within 90 days of employment, but new employees can carry training over from one employer to another.

    • Employers will need to keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgment (signature can be electronic), for three years.

Compliant courses in the OpenSesame catalog

OpenSesame already has courses that are fully compliant with the new regulations for both New York and New York City, with more coming soon.

Harassment prevention training for employees and supervisors
Harassment prevention training for employees
Harassment prevention training for supervisors

If your organization works or has employees in New York, you need to start preparing today to ensure you’re compliant with the new laws by the deadlines. For more information, you can read more about the new requirements for New York and New York City.

We’re here for you every step of the way, including helping you find courses that comply with the new laws. Email or contact your Customer Success Manager for help finding the courses you need.