States Target Restaurants for Anti-Harassment Training Legislation
Harassment prevention in the workplace continues to be top of mind for employers in all industries—particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Restaurant employers are the current target of proposed legislation in certain states that would require the adoption of sexual harassment policies and periodic mandatory harassment training for their workforce.
In January, the New Jersey Legislature introduced a bill (A4831) that would require restaurants employing 15+ employees to provide, at hire and throughout the employment relationship, interactive sexual harassment training tailored to the restaurant industry, including practical examples and instruction on how to file a sexual harassment complaint. Illinois’ proposed (and broader) Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act similarly would require sexual harassment training for all restaurant employees covering a range of topics, within 90 days of enactment or at hire, and every two years thereafter. Both bills call for separate training for employees and management, each with its own set of requirements. Anything other than strict compliance would carry significant fines for violations, and in New Jersey, even strict compliance would not help the employer avoid sexual harassment liability.