New York became the fourth state after Maine, Connecticut and California on October 9, 2018, to effect mandatory sexual harassment prevention training. This will affect all organizations with employees in the state. New York City also has their own law in the pipes that will be effective in April 2019. It may seem confusing to have the two laws but the State’s law will be almost similar to that of NYC.
The state requires that organizations with employees within its jurisdiction should have begun a conversation about harassment with their workers through policies and training.
Organizations with employees within New York State must have updated their company or business policies to encompass the new set areas. These include forming a standard harassment form, updating information on state and federal harassment laws, outlined procedure on timely and impartial investigations to claims among others.
All organizations with employees are required to offer mandatory training towards harassment prevention in addition to the policy changes. The same organizations will be required by the state to come up with a plan for conducting the training over a period of one year.
As such, the training program should contain the following universal components:
- A detailed definition of what sexual harassment is and how employees can identify it
- Examples of what sexual harassment looks like
- An in-depth overview of the New York State and federal laws relating to sexual harassment
- A summary of the employees’ rights to redress
- Another summary of the organization’s sexual harassment complaint process
- And information concerning bystander intervention just like in NYC
For most states, the debate and review on sexual harassment laws came about as a result of the #Me-too movement where multiple women came forward to speak about their ordeals in harassment. The law seeks to make working environments better especially for women. Make sure your organization adheres to the law by training its employees.