Effective April 1, 2019, New York City employers with at least 15 employees (including interns and independent contractors) who have worked more than 80 hours and at least 90 days in a calendar year, must begin providing mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees, including supervisors, managers, part-time employees, independent contractors, interns, and seasonal employees. (The state counterpart to this law applies to employers of any size.) The training must include an explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under federal, state, and local law; examples of what sexual harassment looks like; a review of the New York City Human Rights Commission complaint process; discussion of retaliation; and information concerning bystander intervention. The training must be interactive with a live trainer. If possible, it should also include a web-based component. The training must be provided to employees by December 31, 2019. However, the Guidance appears to conflict with the statutory language of the law, which requires the training to be “annual,” and thus it appears to allow firms until March 31, 2020, to complete the first cycle of training. The training must also be provided to new employees within 90 days of initial hire. After completing the training, individuals can print or save a certificate of completion. To ensure compliance with both state and city law, New York City employers should aim to complete the training at some point between April 1 – October 9, 2019.
There are new recordkeeping and notice requirements as well. Employers are required to record all training, including obtained signed employee acknowledgments (electronic form is acceptable), for at least three years. Beginning September 6, 2019, the required notice on the New York City Commission on Human Rights website must be posted in both English and Spanish. Employers are also required to distribute an information sheet to new employees at the time of hire or include similar information in employee handbooks.
This new law is part of a comprehensive set of legislation passed on the heels of the #metoo movement. Although employers have until the end of the year to comply, it is prudent to begin planning to meet notice and training obligations under the Act now.
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