As previously covered by HR Legalist, employers across New York State have until October 9, 2018, to implement sexual harassment policies that meet specific minimum requirements defined in the law. On Monday afternoon, the State of New York issued final guidance which granted employers a significant reprieve on the portion of the law governing mandatory sexual harassment prevention and training. Thanks to this new guidance, employers in New York State now have until October 9, 2019 to provide the requisite training (a significant extension from the previous training-related deadline of January 1, 2019). However, the deadline for the adoption of compliant sexual harassment policies remains October 9, 2018.
In addition to extending the training deadline, the New York Department of Labor released revised model policies and training programs as well as additional documents to aid employers. These documents, as well as an overview of the law, can be found at the link below:
In addition to providing additional time to implement training, the guidance changes the timeframe for mandatory training for new employees from thirty (30) days to “as soon as possible.” The guidance also addresses training in other languages for employees whose primary language is not English, and explains that the model materials will be translated in a variety of languages. The guidance cautions that employers will still be held liable for the misconduct of all of their employees, regardless of whether their primary language is covered by the model materials. Therefore, it is essential for employers to ensure that readily understandable training materials are provided regardless of the availability of translations from the state.
The updated materials also provide additional guidance regarding nondisclosure agreements as they pertain to harassment-related settlements. The guidance discusses the ban on nondisclosure agreements, and the scope of a narrow exception allowing nondisclosure agreements when they are preferred by the complaining employee.
The final guidance provides additional information on an array of related policy and training requirements. The New York City sexual harassment legislation will require even more employer training and compliance. Employers should take advantage of this latest extension of time to consult with employment counsel with experience in this area and ensure that their policies, procedures and training modules are fully compliant.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.
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Dove Burns represents employers including corporate clients and executives, professional service providers, multibillion-dollar international restaurant chains, hospitals, municipalities in a variety of high-exposure matters. She has tried numerous cases to verdict and has resolved disputes through arbitration, mediation, and conciliation. Burns has also earned a reputation as a highly respected, in-demand speaker during her career. Burns can be reached at 646-656-0513 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mathew Beckwith focuses his practice on labor relations and employment law. He has experience litigating cases related to FLSA wage and hour disputes, employment discrimination, commercial litigation, false arrest, and personal injury. He can be reached at 917-994-2552 or email@example.com