Update on Sexual Harassment Laws in New York: Today, Posting and Information Sheets Must be Distributed
September 6, 2018

As we reported last on July 11, 2018, New York State and New York City recently passed several anti-harassment laws in the wake of the #MeToo movement that will soon require employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all workers, distribute a comprehensive sexual harassment prevention policy, and update their form employment contracts and settlement agreements. Today, key parts of the City law go into effect.  Companies in the insurance and reinsurance industries are covered by the new laws.

Notices to be Posted by Today; Information Sheets to be Distributed by Today
The New York City Commission on Human Rights recently issued a  model Poster to be conspicuously posted and the Commission said the Poster had to be posted by today, September 6.  The Commission also issued on the same day a virtually identical Notice / Information Sheet to be distributed to all employees by today.  Here are the links to those documents: Notice / Information Sheet; Poster. The City has established a website for its Stop Sexual Harassment Act.

Meanwhile, the New York State Division on Human Rights has issued a model sexual harassment prevention policy, minimum standards for the policy, a model form of sexual harassment training,  minimum standards for training, a model complaint form, and FAQs.  The new NYS law dealing with sexual harassment requires issuance of a policy complying with the law by October 9, 2018.  The model policy is subject to comments from the public through September 12, 2018, after which the Division on Human Rights will finalize it.

As noted in the FAQs issued by New York State, all employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training that meets the State’s minimum standards by January 1, 2019.  Further, all newly hired employees who begin employment after January 1, 2019 must complete sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of starting their job.

Reminder:  As we noted in our July 11 post, the New York State law now prohibits employers with more than four employees from including contractual provisions in any written employment contracts that mandate arbitration of sexual harassment claims; now prohibits employers from including confidentiality/nondisclosure clauses in settlement agreements of sexual harassment claims, unless the employee prefers such a provision; requires employers by October 9, 2018 to issue and maintain sexual harassment prevention policies with specific content included; requires employers to conduct sexual harassment prevention training by January 1, 2019, and  to do so on an annual basis, with new employees to be trained within 30 days of hire; and expands the anti-harassment laws to protect independent contractors, including service providers who have been subjected to sexual harassment when providing services at your company’s worksite.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the type of advice and training we suggest in order to comply with these new laws in a thoughtful and effective manner, please do not hesitate to contact Locke Lord lawyer Richard Reibstein.

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