Room to Breathe — Harassment Prevention Training Deadline Extension Amongst Other Updates

The New York Governor’s office released updated materials and guidance on October 1, 2018 in connection with employers’ obligations under New York’s harassment prevention legislation.  These new materials contain a much-welcomed extension of the deadline to provide sexual harassment training to all employees from January 1, 2019 to October 9, 2019.

In addition to the above-stated extension of time, the updated materials remove the deadline by which new-hires must complete mandatory avoidance of sexual harassment training and, instead “encourages training of [new-hires] as soon as possible.”  The updated materials further clarify the definition of “employee” for training purposes: “employee” now includes “all workers, regardless of immigration status,” as well as all “exempt or non-exempt employees, part-time workers, seasonal workers, and even temporary workers.”

Employers should be aware that both the anti-harassment policy and the training should be provided to employees in their primary languages.  The State is currently working on translating its model training material and model policy into various common languages, including, but not limited to, Spanish, Chinese, Italian and Haitian-Creole.  If the State does not make a template available in an employee’s primary language, the employer is permitted to utilize the English-language version.

Notably, the updated materials contain a revised State model complaint form, revised model sexual harassment prevention policy, model training materials, and a sexual harassment prevention toolkit. The State’s materials are available at https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers. While these materials are generally helpful, employers are not obligated to limit themselves to the model training materials and may utilize their own materials or hire an outside service to complete the training as long as the minimum requirements for training are met.

For further information in connection with New York’s harassment prevention legislation, please feel free to contact our Labor Relations & Employment Law Attorneys. The purpose of this publication is to provide a brief update concerning recent legal developments and should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice.

 

Desiree M. Gargano, Esq. is an Associate in the Employment Law and Litigation Practice Groups at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP.

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