Focusing on Respect in the Workplace: Harassment Prevention Mandates
[Heads up: While I am a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), I’m not an employment attorney. If you have questions about whether and how these laws below apply to you and your organization you should connect with legal counsel.]
In 2018, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, state and local governments took action and enacted a number of laws to address sexual harassment in the workplace. Places like California, Connecticut, Delaware, and Maine introduced new and updated provisions and laws to increase employee protections. You might remember hearing about these laws when they were first proposed and signed. This is a reminder that specific, mandatory employer provisions are now going into effect, with one deadline in New York State on October 9, 2019.
Our law firm colleagues at Pillsbury Law compiled this incredibly helpful piece on what’s changing, and what organizations in New York City and New York State need to know and do to be compliant. (Want to be alerted when other employment law updates are announced? Sign up for their Insights emails.) Full disclosure: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP provides pro-bono legal counsel to Fractured Atlas.
Not sure if this applies to you yet? Here are a few highlights from the Pillsbury piece:
“By October 9, 2019, every employer in New York State must annually train each of their employees on sexual harassment prevention. A similar annual employee training requirement goes into effect under the New York City law as of April 1, 2019, with new hires trained within 90 days of hire. New York City employers must provide such training to independent contractors, unless they have been trained elsewhere.
The New York State law requires all employers to provide training to all employees who spend any portion of their time working in New York State, even if not based in New York. The City law applies to employers that have employed more than 15 employees at any point in the calendar year. Independent contractors are counted as “employees.”
...the New York City Commission on Human Rights clarified that the training requirements under the City law match the training requirements under State law, so employers will not be required to give two separate trainings for their employees in New York City.”
In some cases these new acts also called for employers to review and update their Harassment Prevention policy and include a form for constituents to submit a complaint.
“Effective immediately, employers must provide their New York employees with a copy of their sexual harassment prevention policies and the information presented at their sexual harassment training programs upon hire and at every annual sexual harassment training session thereafter.”
Need help finding resources related to these changes? Might we recommend:
- The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers templates for harassment policies and complaint procedures. Be sure to check that these templates meet what’s required for your locality.
- New York State provides templates that meet the policy and complaint form requirements. They also have training videos that can be used to fulfill the training mandate.
- New York City also provides a series of compliant training videos.
- California, Connecticut, Delaware, and Maine also provide resources specific to those states.
- And if you’re looking for a consultant for training in the future (either in person or virtual), we highly recommend Artixan Consulting. Their Respect in the Workplace workshop is compliant with NYC and NYS regulations. Feel free to discuss how it may be crafted to meet the needs of other localities. (Artixan Consulting is also available to conduct internal investigations and other HR guidance.)
Want to talk more about other people-related topics? The Fractured Atlas People Team is happy to chat! Email us at HRhour@fracturedatlas.org Please include a brief description of what you’d like to discuss. If we think we can be a help to you, we’ll send you a link to select a time. (The meeting will take place on Zoom video conference; although, if that’s not an option for you, we’re happy to chat by phone.)
Talk to you soon!
About Jillian Wright
Jillian Wright is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a member of both the People and Finance teams at Fractured Atlas. As the Senior Director of People Operations, Jillian manages the company payroll and benefits, updates and monitors company employment policy compliance and assists in the organization's strategic HR efforts. As Controller, she manages and oversees all financial procedures and policies for the organization, as well as supervises compliance reporting including the annual organizational audit. Prior to Fractured Atlas, she worked in arts management and accounting for Stephen Petronio Company, Robert Battle’s Battleworks Dance Company, The Center for Kinesthetic Education, and The Diller-Quaile School of Music. In her spare time, Jillian performs with Ballet Vermont and enjoys gardening, and hiking with her family.