January 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 15

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January 15, 2021

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New Sexual Harassment Prevention Laws in New York: What Employers Need to Know about the October 9th Deadline

As we previously reported in our April 23 newsletter/bulletin, the New York State Legislature passed significant legislation aimed at protecting employees from workplace sexual harassment. This week, the state issued its highly anticipated model sexual harassment prevention policy and model interactive sexual harassment prevention training program after issuing draft documents in August, and receiving public comments thereafter. Effective October 9, 2018, the new law requires all New York State employers to either implement the state’s model sexual harassment prevention policy, or create their own sexual harassment prevention policy that meets or exceeds the minimum standards established by the state. Employers must also distribute their sexual harassment prevention policy to all New York State employees, in writing or electronically, as of this date. On the training front, the new law requires employers to either adopt the state’s model interactive sexual harassment prevention training program, or create their own state-compliant program. However, in something of a reprieve, employers will have a year—until October 9, 2019—to train current employees, instead of by January 1, 2019, as originally required. Such training must be conducted annually, and new employees should be trained “as quickly as possible” once their employment begins. What constitutes “as quickly as possible,” however, has not yet been defined.

To aid employers in their compliance with the new law, the state has published additional materials including the following: a Sexual Harassment Prevention Employer Toolkit, Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies, Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Training, a Model Complaint Form for Reporting Sexual Harassment, a Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy Notice, Instructions and a Model Training Script for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Sexual Harassment Prevention Case Studies. Employers should carefully review these sexual harassment prevention materials and determine whether to adopt the model policy and training program or devise their own.

Employers should act quickly to ensure full compliance with all requirements under the new law.

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© 2020 Vedder PriceNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 278
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TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

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About this Author

Blythe E. Lovinger, Labor and Employment Practice, Vedder Price Law Firm
Shareholder

Blythe E. Lovinger is a Shareholder in the New York office of Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group. 

Ms. Lovinger focuses her practice on employment litigation before federal and state courts, administrative agencies and arbitration panels. She has defended employers and senior executives against claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation as well as actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York Labor Law and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Ms. Lovinger has extensive experience...

212-407-7770
Jonathan A. Wexler, Vedder Price Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney
Shareholder

Jonathan A. Wexler is a shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Area of the New York office. He represents private-sector, not-for-profit, and public-sector clients in litigation matters in federal and state courts, and before such administrative agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the National Labor Relations Board, and the New York Department of Labor.

212-407-7732
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