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What You Need to Know About New York State’s New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements.

New York State has passed sweeping changes to its sexual harassment laws.  All New York employers are required to provide updated sexual harassment training to all employees, including new hires, existing employees, supervisors and management, and part-time and seasonal employees by October 9, 2019.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace creates a hostile work environment, not only affecting employee morale, productivity and attrition, but also opening an employer up to possible legal liability.  Detecting and preventing sexual harassment can be difficult.  Therefore, a key part of preventing a hostile work environment is to train employees and supervisors about the different types of sexual harassment, how to recognize them, how to report improper behavior, and what a supervisor must do when harassment has been reported.

New York passed a law in 2018 which imposed new requirements to all sexual harassment training.  The new training must happen at least once per year and explain what sexual harassment is, what the employee’s rights are, and how the employee can assert those rights.  The trainings must also explain to supervisors their role in preventing sexual harassment and their responsibilities when they receive a complaint.  Additionally, the training must be interactive.  That means that simply asking an employee to watch a video will not satisfy the legal requirements.  The trainer must ask employees questions and be ready to respond to the employee’s questions.  All employees must have received this training by October 9, 2019.

Smith Hoke, PLLC routinely assists its clients with the development of sexual harassment training policies and the presentation of training programs to employees.  Please contact one of our attorneys with any questions related to harassment policies, training, preventative practices, or any other labor- or employment-related issues.

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