New York State Mandatory Sexual Harassment Policy and Annual Anti-Sexual Harassment Training

Employers in New York State are now required to maintain a written sexual harassment policy, and to provide annual training to employees, pursuant to a new provision, New York Labor Law § 201-g. The policy went into effect October 9, 2018.

The model sexual harassment prevention policy must:

  • state that sexual harassment is prohibited;
  • provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • contain information regarding federal and state law concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
  • include a statement that there may be applicable local  laws on sexual harassment;
  • contain a complaint form;
  • include a procedure for the investigation of complaints;
  • 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 sexual harassment to  continue; and
  • state that retaliation against those who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceeding is unlawful.

Employers are required to either adopt the model sexual harassment prevention policy or establish a policy that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model policy. The policy must be provided in writing to all employees.

NOTE: New York Labor Law §296-d expands sexual harassment protections to non-employees. Employers may be liable to contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or other non-employees providing services to the employer with respect to sexual harassment. Such liability will be available when (i) the employer, its agents, or supervisors knew (or should have known) that a non-employee was subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, and (ii) the employer failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. This provision took effect on April 12, 2018.