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Business Owner's in New York State - You need more than Insurance for Sexual Harassment Claims...

As a Business Owner in New York State, you are aware Employment Practice Liability Insurance Carrier's (EPLI) ask the same questions including:

1. Do you have an employee manual or handbook?

2. Do you have a Sexual Harassment Policy?

In NY State, it is not only important to have an EPLI Insurance Policy to protect your business from insurance claims, your Sexual Harassment Policy must comply with the law.  The law require all NYS Employees to have Sexual Harassment Training by October 9, 2019.

Sexual Harassment in New York State-What is new?

Governor Cuomo and New York State are leading the nation with new laws to combat sexual harassment in the workplace as part of his 2018 Women's Agenda for New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity.

On April 12, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed into law the 2019 New York State Budget, updating the State’s sexual harassment laws.

Attention New York City Employers: The New York City Commission on Human Rights has launched an online training program for employers based in New York City that is compliant with New York State requirements. The training is available here.

1. Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy in Place - October 9, 2018 (This should already be completed, but see below if you need to implement.)

If your business does not already have a sexual harassment prevention policy statement, you should download and adopt the state's model policy today and distribute it to all of your employees. If you already have a policy in place, compare it to the state's model and revise your policy if it does not include any of the model's provisions. The policy should be available in employee handbooks.

2. Sexual Harassment Annual Training Requirement - October 9, 2019

New York State requires all employees to complete sexual harassment training every year. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure this training is completed. 

3. Acknowledgement Form - October 9, 2019

All employees need to sign a form when their training is complete. Keep these forms on file and update each year when annual training takes place.

Model Sexual Harassment Policy

Every employer in the 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 that 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 there may be applicable local laws

  • 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

Training Requirements

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

Information provided curtesy of NYS.  For complete details regarding the policy, please visit https://www.ny.gov/programs/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace

Posted 10:27 PM

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