New York State Revises Sexual Harassment Prevention Guidance
Carol Goodman, co-chair of Herrick's Litigation Department and chair of the firm's Employment Practice, spoke to Society for Human Resource Management ("SHRM") about the recent updates to New York State's sexual harassment prevention model policy and training requirements, which employers will need to include in their handbooks and communications with employees moving forward.
The article highlighted that New York State's sexual harassment law is more strict than the federal law. Federal law states that harassment must be severe or pervasive to be illegal. Be aware that sexual harassment can occur in texts, e-mails and Zoom meetings, Carol noted.
New York State law specifies that employers must conduct anti-harassment training for all employees annually. Moreover, these training should incorporate examples that are specific to the company's work environment or industry. New York's minimum standards require these trainings to be interactive and consist of examples of what constitutes unlawful sexual harassment. Additionally, New York employers must provide workers with a copy of the company's anti-harassment policy and a copy of the information presented in anti-harassment trainings.
"By having relevant examples and an interactive dialogue, employees will develop a greater awareness of what is and is not appropriate in the workplace, how bystander intervention works, and when an employee is obligated to report a violation of the policy," Carol continued. "Companies should not approach training as checking the box to comply with the law. The company must make it known that management, at the highest levels, is committed to a discrimination-free work environment," Carol concluded.
Read the full article in SHRM here. Access may require a subscription.