The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”) have issued their proposed sexual harassment training and proposed sexual harassment policy. Any member of the public, including employers, may submit comments to the NYSDOL regarding proposed changes through September 12, 2018. The NYSDOL will consider all public comments in deciding whether to make any changes before publishing a final version.
As explained in our previous alert, changes to New York’s sexual harassment laws will require employers to conduct annual sexual harassment training of all employees starting October 9, 2018. The proposed guidance clarifies what constitutes “interactive” training, stating that it should be web-based, ask employees questions and accommodate their questions, include a live trainer during the session to answer questions and require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented. Perhaps recognizing that not all employers can provide this level of web-based training, the NYSDOL’s guidance acknowledges that these are not absolute requirements and contemplates meaningful in-person training as an acceptable alternative.
Also, the NYSDOL’s guidance would impose deadlines and requirements not found in the laws scheduled to take effect. For example, the guidance states that all employees should receive sexual harassment training no later than January 1, 2019. It also states that all new employees must receive such training within 30 calendar days of their start date. But the laws taking effect on October 9, 2018 do not impose these obligations, and only require the employer to complete sexual harassment training of all employees annually.
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