New Requirements for Employers Under Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

June 5, 2018
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NYC Recently Enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act…

On the heels of newly passed state-wide regulations, New York City recently enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (Act), which imposes additional requirements on top of the New York State laws. Most notably, employers must conduct annual sexual harassment training and display an anti-sexual harassment poster in common areas of the workplace.

New Requirements for Employers Under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

Photo courtesy of Dorian Mongel (Unsplash.com)

Annual Sexual Harassment Training

The Act mandates that all private employers with 15 or more employees conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees, including supervisors and managerial employees. The sexual harassment training is also required within 90 days of initial hire for employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year on either a full-time or part-time basis. For new employees who received anti-sexual harassment training at a previous employer within the required training cycle, additional anti-sexual harassment training at the new employer would not be required until the next cycle. In addition, employers that are subject to sexual harassment training requirements in multiple jurisdictions may prove compliance with the Act by submitting proof that it provides all workers with annual interactive anti-sexual harassment training that satisfies the training standards set forth in the Act.

Under the Act, the annual sexual harassment training must include, but need not be limited to, the following:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
  • A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
  • A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
  • Details of any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
  • The complaint process available through the commission, the division of human rights and the United States equal employment opportunity commission, including contact information;
  • The prohibition of retaliation, pursuant to subdivision 7 of section 8-107, and examples thereof; and
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention.
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such management employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.

Under the Act, the term “interactive training” means participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in a trainer-trainee interaction, use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program or other participatory forms of training as determined by the commission. However, such “interactive training” is not required to be live or facilitated by an in-person instructor. The New York City Commission on Human Rights, in order to help New York City employers comply with the new training requirement, is tasked with creating an online interactive training module, which will be posted on its website for access by employers.

Employers must keep records of the training completed by each employee for at least three years, including a signed employee acknowledgment. The new requirement takes effect on April 1, 2019.

New Poster Requirements

The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act directs the New York City Commission on Human Rights to design an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and post it online for employers to access. All NYC employers will be required to display such poster in a conspicuous location where employees gather, such as break rooms and common areas. Every employer at a minimum must display the poster in English and in Spanish.

The Act also mandates distribution of an information sheet on sexual harassment to employees at the time of hire. The sheet will also be created by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. This part of the Act takes effect 120 days after May 9, 2018, the date that it was signed by Mayor de Blasio, provided that the Commission takes all actions needed for its implementation.

Statute of Limitations

The Act also amends the New York City Human Rights Law, with regard specifically to sexual harassment, to apply to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. In addition, it extended the statute of limitations for filing gender-based harassment claims under the city human rights law from one year to three years. These amendments took place immediately.

Next Steps for NYC Employers

For New York City employers, tasking affirmative steps to achieve anti-sexual harassment compliance, should be a top priority. With new state and local regulations, the compliance burdens and liability risks are growing. To stay on top of all your obligations, we encourage you to contact one of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s experienced employment attorneys.

If you have any questions, please contact us

Do you have any questions? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, Gary Young, at 201-806-3364.