New York State Issues Final Guidance Regarding New Sexual Harassment Standards

October 4, 2018 | Kenneth A. Novikoff | Brian S. Conneely | John K. Diviney | Keegan B. Sapp | Employment & Labor

As we previously reported in June 2018 (see https://www.rivkinradler.com/publications/new-sexual-harassment-legislation-applies-to-almost-all-ny-employers/), New York State lawmakers passed aggressive new legislation designed to stop sexual harassment in the workplace.  The changes included requiring employers to implement sexual harassment prevention policies and training.

In August 2018, New York State drafted a model sexual harassment policy and training requirements.  After the public comment period closed on September 12, and after considering comments from companies and interest groups, New York State has issued a final set of guidance materials.

While there are several critical changes, employers are still obligated to ensure their anti-harassment policies meet the state’s minimum requirements on or before October 9, 2019.

These final regulations contain a number of key changes including but not limited to:

  • Changing the initial deadline to train employees to October 9, 2019, rather than by year-end as the draft documents had suggested.
  • Encouraging employers to train newly hired employees “as soon as possible,” rather than within 30-days as the draft documents suggested.
  • Mandating that sexual harassment investigations be “commenced immediately” and be completed “as soon as possible” rather than the 30-day deadline as the draft documents had suggested.
  • Removing the introductory language previously advising employees they could pursue a matter with an administrative agency at any time.

We have and will continue to assist our clients and colleagues in complying with these new laws as well as other employment laws, wage hour laws, labor laws, regulations and employment litigations.

The link to the New York State website, which contains the final notices and model proposed training requirements, is available at https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers.  If you have any questions about these new sexual harassment laws and requirements, please contact Ken Novikoff at (516) 357-3110; Brian S. Conneely at (516) 357-3174; John Diviney at (516) 357-3234; Scott Green at (516) 357-3139; or Keegan Sapp at (516) 357-3320.

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