New York State recently updated its sexual harassment prevention model policy, as well as associated training materials.
The changes were issued in April 2023.
New York State law requires every employer to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. Employers that don’t use the state’s model policy must ensure that their own meets or exceeds certain minimum standards.
New York State Sexual Harassment Policy Update
As a reminder, since 2018 New York has had a law that requires employees to go through an annual sexual harassment prevention training. It must be interactive and include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by state officials
- Examples of unlawful conduct
- Information about federal and state statutory provisions surrounding sexual harassment and remedies available to victims
- Information about employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints
- Information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for them
Meanwhile, the April 2023 updates to the sexual harassment prevention model policy feature several items for employer to note, starting with identifying sexual harassment as a type of gender-based discrimination.
The updates also reference examples of sexual harassment regarding remote work environments and include information on the level of severity of actions that qualify as sexual harassment.
There is a new section on bystander training, as well as enhanced responsibilities for supervisors.
Also, the updates are included in the training materials — the model training deck, script and compliant form.
Finally, there is also new language saying no portion of the model policy should be omitted, which could create hurdles for HR teams that use their own sexual harassment prevention policy rather than the state’s.
Employment Law Management
In the #MeToo era, employers have several more items to monitor when it comes to employment law.
Legislative responses have taken many forms, including:
- Equal pay
- Sexual harassment training
- Salary history bans
- Lower standards to establish harassment claims
The New York State sexual harassment policy model update is another piece of the puzzle.
Last month’s changes are the first major update to the New York sexual harassment policy model since the law went into effect in 2018.
Plus, with new language about not omitting any sections of the model policy, employers with locations in New York should check their sexual harassment training practices and procedures to ensure they align with the latest updates.
Find more information on the state’s website.