COMBATING SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION POLICY NOTICE
Every employer in New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the model policy must ensure that the policy they adopt meets or exceeds the following minimum standards.
The policy must:
- prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor, in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
- provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
- include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that local laws may apply
- include a complaint form
- include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties
- inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially
- clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue
- clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful
Employers must provide each employee with a copy of its policy in writing. Employers should provide employees with the policy in the language spoken by their employees.
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The adoption of a policy does not constitute a conclusive defense to charges of unlawful sexual harassment. Each claim of sexual harassment will be determined in accordance with existing legal standards, with due consideration of the particular facts and circumstances of the claim, including but not limited to the existence of an effective anti-harassment policy and procedure.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION POLICY NOTICE
, which is an optional tool, is one way to direct both employees and non-employees to your Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and should be displayed in a highly visible place.
MODEL COMPLAINT FORM
New York State Labor Law requires all employers to adopt a sexual harassment policy that includes a complaint form
for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment. Employers can download
the model complaint form and share with their employees.
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.
Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training.
The videos below, which may be watched via YouTube or downloaded, meet all state minimum training requirements except one: the videos alone are NOT considered interactive. If you are using this video to meet the training requirements, you must also: ask questions of employees as part of the program; accommodate questions asked by employees, with answers provided in a timely manner; or require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented.
During this interactive portion, employers should be prepared to address questions raised by employees including those specific to their industry, questions about the organization’s reporting process and questions about how hypothetical cases would be handled.
This webinar will review recent changes in the law and what they mean for employers across New York State.
Read the frequently asked questions
to learn more about the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and trainings.