On May 9, 2018, New York City enacted a number of laws addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. The laws are summarized below. New York City employers who do not yet have anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies in place should promptly begin the process for adopting them. New York City employers should also begin to make arrangements for providing their employees with anti-harassment training (upon hire and annually thereafter). Such training is now required under both New York State and New York City law. New York State’s law, which was also recently enacted, will become effective first. For a brief discussion of the recent New York State legislation, please see our prior blog post, New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws will require action by all New York employers.
Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
Beginning April 1, 2019, New York City employers with 15 or more employees (which includes interns for purposes of this new law) must provide anti-sexual harassment training to all of their New York City employees on an annual basis. The training must also be provided to new hires (who will work more than 80 hours per year) during the first 90 days of their employment. The training must address the following items (at a minimum):
- an explanation that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under New York City, New York State, and federal law;
- a description, using examples, of what constitutes sexual harassment;
- a description of the employer’s internal procedures for reporting claims of sexual harassment;
- a description of the complaint process available through the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the United State Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for reporting claims of sexual harassment, including contact information for each agency;
- a statement that retaliation under the New York City human rights law is prohibited, and examples of prohibited retaliation;
- information regarding bystander intervention, including resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
- a description of the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees can take to appropriately address complaints of sexual harassment.
Also, the training must be “interactive.” However, the new law is clear that the training need not be in-person or live in order to be considered interactive. The New York City Commission on Human Rights will be developing an on-line training module that can be used by employers to satisfy this training requirement, as long as employers supplement the module with a description of their internal complaint procedures.
The law requires employers to maintain records of all trainings provided, including signed employee acknowledgements, for at least three years.
New York City employers should be aware that this New York City training requirement is in addition to, and not in lieu of, the recently enacted New York State sexual harassment training requirement. New York City employers should ensure that their training modules satisfy both state and city requirements, to the extent applicable. To read a copy of our recent client alert summarizing the New York State requirement, please see our prior legal update, New York employers should get ready to comply with New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws.
Information sheet for employees
Effective September 6, 2018, all New York City employers must provide employees at the time of hire with an information sheet on sexual harassment. This information sheet will be developed by the New York City Commission on Human Rights and may be included in the employer’s employee handbook.
Workplace poster requirement
Effective September 6, 2018, all New York City employers must conspicuously display an anti-sexual harassment poster to be designed by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The poster must be displayed in employee breakrooms or other common areas where employees gather. The poster must be displayed in both English and Spanish.
Doing business with New York City
Effective July 8, 2018, employers doing business with New York City must provide the city with information regarding the employer’s practices, policies, and procedures relating to preventing and addressing sexual harassment. This is in addition to other disclosure requirements already required in order to do business with the city.
Changes to the New York City Human Rights Law
With respect to claims of gender-based harassment, the law was amended to extend the statute of limitations for filing claims with the New York City Commission on Human Rights from one year to three years, effective immediately. The law was also amended, effective immediately, to make its prohibitions on gender-based harassment applicable to all New York City employers, regardless of how many employees the employer has. Generally, the law only applies to employers with four or more employees (which includes certain independent contractors for this purpose).
For more information
If you have any questions about any of the new requirements discussed in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact the authors or your Norton Rose Fulbright attorney contact.