NY State Required Sexual Harassment Training

WRITTEN August 1, 2019 Author: Mark Fogel

Did you know that by October 9, of 2019, New York State employers will be required to implement annual sexual-harassment training for all employees?

Sexual harassment training will need to cover, or exceed, the mandated standards that are being established by New York State.

Improving Communications is here to partner with you on this important endeavor. Our Workplace Professionalism class is an ideal program for you to bring to your organization in time to meet the new state requirements.

Harassment occurs when someone is subjected to unwanted sexual advances, petitioned for sexual favors, or physically / verbally abused. Harassment doesn’t have to be of a sexual nature – it can include offensive remarks about a person’s gender. For example, anyone could be guilty of harassing another if offensive comments are made about certain group in general. Simple teasing or offhand comments might not be illegal, but harassment is illegal when it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.

Among the New York State requirements are:

  • Prohibition of nondisclosure clauses in settlements or agreements relating to claims of sexual harassment, unless the condition of confidentiality is the preference of the complainant.

Meaning: You cannot have a “kiss and don’t tell” agreement.

  • Prohibition of mandatory arbitration clauses for claims of workplace sexual harassment.

Meaning: You cannot require arbitration.

  • Mandated distribution of written anti-harassment policies in the workplace, and required annual anti-harassment training for all employees.

Meaning: Training and documentation is required for all employees.

  • Expanded protections against sexual harassment under the New York State Human Rights Law to “non-employees,” including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract.

Meaning: Your organization is responsible for the speech and behavior for contractors and temps brought in to do work.

HR executives wear two hats in supporting both executive management and advocating for employees on a daily basis. But what do you do when your executive team over steps legal boundaries and it impacts your entire population?

Here are some facts about claims filed with the EEOC:

When employees were asked in randomly-sampled surveys whether they had experienced sexual harassment at work, 25% answered “yes,” according to the EEOC task force’s study. That number rose to 40% when they were asked whether they had experienced “unwelcome sexually-based behaviors” like unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion.

Beyond being a legal requirement, having classes available to teach management and staff how to recognize, understand, and respond to sexual-harassment issues will help to create and maintain a happy and professionally compliant work environment; free from hostility and discomfort.

We have public classes available to send your staff externally. We are also available to come onsite to run our Workplace Professionalism class program at your organization.  Contact us to see what solution works for you. 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

Other Resources:

Combatting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – NYS State

Know Your Rights At Work -AAUW

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Why Don’t Victims Report It?

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