With sexual-harassment allegations on the rise, states are moving towards reform of their laws and the complaint process. One of these states is New York, which recently passed a law that will go in effect October 9th requiring companies to provide annual sexual-harassment training for all employees.
All training must meet or exceed the standards of the state, either by using a program set forth by state agencies or the company’s independent training program.
The training must cover the following concepts:
• Detailed explanation of sexual harassment as well as specific examples or scenarios
• Detailed information regarding victim resources on the local, state, and federal levels
• An explanation of employee rights and the proper course of action for filing a complaint.
In addition to training, companies will also be required to provide a written policy detailing the above information and distribute it to its employees. As with the training program, companies can elect to use a model policy issued by state agencies.
If you have an existing policy or training program in place, it’s a good idea to review those now to ensure compliance with the new laws.
You should also check local employment law to find out if there are any additional requirements that you are required to follow. For example, New York City has recently passed legislation regarding sexual harassment prevention that employers within the city would be responsible for complying with.
While at this time New York is the only state that requires that ALL employees receive sexual harassment training at this time, lawmakers throughout the country are pushing for similar regulations in other states. Consult your legal counsel or local authorities for additional information.