New Laws on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Is your business compliant with new sexual harassment laws?

On May 9, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, a comprehensive legislative package aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, into law. Included in the package is an expansion of the City Human Rights Law in cases of gender-based harassment to increase the statute of limitations from one year to three years and expand protections to all employees, regardless of the size of their employer.

Additional obligations for employers include:

1. Under Local Law 96 of 2018, employers with 15 or more employees are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. Effective April 2019, employers have one year to implement the training for all employees and must ensure all employees are trained annually thereafter. The Commission will develop and share an online training to be available on its website that will satisfy this requirement in the coming months. Employers may also choose to provide their own annual anti-sexual harassment training for employees provided that it includes the following elements:

  • 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 Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information;
  • The prohibition of retaliation including examples;
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to 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.

Employers shall keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgement. These may be kept electronically.

2. Under Local Law 95 of 2018, all employers of any size in the City are required to conspicuously display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities notices in both English and Spanish and distribute a factsheet to individual employees at the time of hire which may be included in an employee handbook.

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