Library trustees need to be aware of a law passed earlier this year that requires all employers in New York State to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and begin conducting annual harassment prevention training for all their employees. The policy to be adopted and the training to be conducted must “meet or exceed” the specific standards and guidelines set forth in guidance developed by the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and Division of Human Rights (DHR). The draft guidance was published in late August and was issued with announcement of a comment period that was designed to allow the public to express their views on the new standards.
The agencies’ comment period on this new guidance ended on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Unless legislators provided an extension to the comment and finalization of the regulation, the law became effective on October 9, 2018.
All employers will be required to adopt a compliant harassment prevention policy and then train all of their existing employees by January 1, 2019. New employees must be trained within 30 calendar days of their start date. This will not leave employers much time to bring their organizations into compliance – and maintain it over time.
Templates for the policy and a sample complaint form meeting all legal requirements are available at the LTA website and at: https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassmentworkplace/employers
The requirements listed here are taken directly from the State website:
Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training. An employer that does not use the model training developed by the Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights must ensure that the training that they use meets or exceeds the following minimum standards. Model training materials are available to employers to download.
The training must:
- be interactive
- include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the
Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
- include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
- include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
- include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints
- include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors
- Each employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018.**The state has received hundreds of very constructive and substantive comments from a wide range of individuals, advocates, industries, worker groups, businesses and business organizations. The comments are being reviewed and necessary revisions being considered, with finalized documents expected to be released in the
It is unclear whether the State will be providing online training video and/or PowerPoint
presentation meeting the agencies’ requirements. However, a model 24 page training document is available at the same website at https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SexualHarassmentDRAFTModelTraining.pdf.