Training and Development: New York
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Authors: XpertHR Editorial Team
- Under New York law, an employer will be required to educate employees with respect to sexual harassment issues. See Sexual Harassment Training.
- New York City has requirements pertaining to training and development. See Local Requirements.
Sexual Harassment Prevention
Effective October 9, 2018, a covered New York employer must adopt a sexual harassment prevention program. See +2017 Bill Text NY S.B. 7507.
Under the law, an employer must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and offer sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis. This may be based on calendar year, anniversary of each employee's start date or any other date the employer chooses. New hires should receive training as quickly as possible.
Employers are also encouraged to provide the policy and training to anyone providing services in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy
An employer's policy must have the following mandatory provisions:
- Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with enforcement guidance and provide examples of prohibited 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 and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
- Include a standard complaint form;
- Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints and ensure 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; and
- Clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceeding under the law is unlawful.
Every employer must adopt the model sexual harassment prevention policy or establish an internal policy to prevent sexual harassment that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model policy. The policy must be provided to all employees in writing. Employers are also encouraged to have employees acknowledge receipt of the policy, and to post a copy of the policy where employees can easily access it.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
The Department of Labor, in consultation with the Division of Human Rights, has created and published a model sexual harassment prevention training program for use by employers.
An employer's program must be interactive and include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with enforcement guidance;
- Examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
- Information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
- Information concerning employees' rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.
The training program must include addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.
Every employer must use the model training program or establish a training program for employees to prevent sexual harassment that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided by the model training. The training must be provided to all employees on an annual basis.
Bids on State Contracts
Effective January 1, 2019, any bidder on a state contract must include in the bid a statement, made under penalty of perjury, that the bidder:
- Has implemented a written policy addressing sexual harassment prevention in the workplace; and
- Provides annual sexual harassment prevention training to all of its employees.
Specifically, the required statement reads as follows:
BY SUBMISSION OF THIS BID, EACH BIDDER AND EACH PERSON SIGNING ON BEHALF OF ANY BIDDER CERTIFIES, AND IN THE CASE OF A JOINT BID EACH PARTY THERETO CERTIFIES AS TO ITS OWN ORGANIZATION, UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, THAT THE BIDDER HAS AND HAS IMPLEMENTED A WRITTEN POLICY ADDRESSING SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION IN THE WORKPLACE AND PROVIDES ANNUAL SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION TRAINING TO ALL OF ITS EMPLOYEES. SUCH POLICY SHALL, AT A MINIMUM, MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED ONE-G OF THE LABOR LAW.
New York City Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements
Effective April 1, 2019, New York City requires certain employers to provide anti-sexual harassment training. NYC Administrative Code 8-107(30), as enacted by Law 2018/632-A.
Specifically, covered employers must conduct anti-sexual harassment interactive training for all employees, including supervisory and managerial employees, who are employed within New York City.
Interactive training means participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in:
- A trainer-trainee interaction;
- The use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program; or
- Other participatory forms of training as determined by the City's Commission on Human Rights.
However, the training need not be live or facilitated by an in-person instructor for it to be interactive under the law.
The law establishes a minimum threshold for employers: employers may provide more frequent, additional or comprehensive anti-sexual harassment training.
The training requirements apply to employers with 15 or more employees subject to the New York City Human Rights Law.
The law excludes from the definition of employer:
- The federal government;
- The State of New York, including any office, department, independent agency, or other affiliated bodies; or
- The City of New York or any related local government, municipality or entity.
With respect to anti-sexual harassment training, New York City public employers are covered separately under Law 2018/612-A.
The law applies to employees of covered employers, including supervisory and managerial employees, who are employed within New York City. Interns are also covered by the law.
Frequency of Training
Training must be conducted:
- After 90 days of initial hire for employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and who perform work on a full-time or part-time basis; and
- Annually thereafter.
An employee who received anti-sexual harassment training at one employer within the required training cycle will not be required to receive additional anti-sexual harassment training at another employer until the next cycle.
Content of Training
The training must include the following:
- An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
- A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
- A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
- Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
- The complaint process available through the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the state Division of Human Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), including contact information;
- The prohibition of retaliation, and examples of such conduct;
- Information concerning bystander intervention, including any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
- The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.
The Commission makes an online interactive training module available for use by employers. The module allows for the electronic provision of certification each time the module is accessed and completed.
Covered employers must keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgement. The acknowledgements may be electronic.
Records must be:
- Retained for at least three years; and
- Made available for inspection by the Commission upon request.
An employer that is subject to training requirements in multiple jurisdictions may assert that it is compliant with New York City requirements if:
- The training provided complies with New York City content training requirements;
- The training is available to its employees on an annual basis; and
- The employer provides proof of compliance.
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