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Important Dates For Sexual Harassment Prevention

All New York State Employers.  Effective October 9, 2018, all New York State employers must implement sexual harassment policies and training.  Highlights from recent draft guidance issued by the State, which will be subject to public comment through September 12, 2018, are as follows:

  • Policy Requirements (Eff. Oct. 9. 2018):
    • Content of Policies - Sexual harassment policies must include, among other things:
      • Examples and explanations of sexual harassment;
      • Information regarding employee rights and procedure to file complaints;  and
      • Mandatory reporting requirements for supervisors and managers.
  • Applicability and Availability - A fully compliant policy must be:
    • Made applicable to all employees, as well as applicants for employment, interns, contractors and other persons who conduct business with the employer;
    • Posted prominently in the workplace;
    • Made available on a work computer for employees to print for their personal records during work hours; and
    • Employers are encouraged to secure written acknowledgment of the policy by each employee.
  • Training Requirements and Deadlines (Eff. Oct. 9, 2018; training deadline Jan. 1, 2019):
    • Training must be interactive, with an opportunity for questions by employees;
    • Training must cover certain topic areas;
    • Employers must conduct fully compliant training by January 1, 2019;
    • New employees must complete training within 30 days of hire;  and
    • Training is mandatory for all employees, even temporary or out-of-state employees who only work in New York for one day.
  • Complaints and Investigations (Eff. Oct. 9, 2018):
    • The State has issued a suggested form of complaint for employers to implement,
    • Investigations of complaints should follow specific steps outlined by the State; and
    • Investigations should be completed within 30 days.
  • Litigation and Settlement (Already in effect, since July 11, 2018):
    • Employees may not be compelled to arbitrate sexual harassment claims, and any term of an existing employment contract or other agreement to the contrary is null and void;
    • Businesses are limited in seeking confidential treatment of settlements of sexual harassment claims - a settlement may only remain confidential if the employee prefers confidentiality, and such preference is made explicit and memorialized in a separate document from the principal settlement agreement, with a review and revocation period.

New York City Employers.  Mandates already in effect for New York City employers with 15 or more employees include:

  • Mandatory posting of the City’s form of Notice in a prominent location, and
  • Mandatory distribution of the City’s form of fact sheet on sexual harassment to all new hires.

Effective next Spring (April 1, 2019), NYC employers with 15 or more employees must conduct sexual harassment training in accordance with further guidance from the City to follow.

OlenderFeldman has a new HR auditing program known as HIRES which proactively troubleshoots legal compliance issues and quickly resolves them for the benefit of your business.  For additional information, please contact Lauren Paxton in our Employment Practices Group at  or 908-964-2453.

Lauren also works with Employment Practices Partner Howard Matalon, who specializes in employment law at the Firm.  Howard is available to discuss concerns about compliance issues or other employment matters.  Please contact him at:  908-964-2424 or .