New Harassment Prevention Requirements for New York State and New York City

Since enacting workplace harassment prevention measures imposed on employers in 2018, New York has been at the forefront of anti-harassment in the workplace initiatives, adding to the requirements and enacting several new portions of the law since then.

2020 is proving to be no different as both New York State and New York City have passed legislation and published further guidance for employers.

In New York State, all employers are required to provide employees with a notice that contains the employer’s “sexual harassment prevention policy and the information presented at such employer’s sexual harassment prevention training program.” This notice must be provided at the time of hire and at every annual harassment training event.

Along with this new requirement, New York State published a template notice that meets the State’s mandate.  If an employer distributes its own notice, it must include the employer’s sexual harassment policy, the employer’s harassment complaint form and any materials the employer uses in its harassment prevention training.

The notice may be distributed to employees via email or hard copy.  New employees should receive the notice on their first day of work, or prior to the first day.

New York City extended its training mandate to include independent contractors and freelancers.  Employers in NYC with more than 4 employees are covered under the law. NYC counts independent contractors who “work in furtherance of an employer’s business enterprise” and family members who are employed as covered and protected from harassment under the law.

Employees, freelancers, and independent contractors who work for an employer with 15 or more employees must complete annual sexual harassment prevention training.  One caveat, freelancers and independent contractors must work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and at least 90 days (do not need to be consecutive) in order to meet the threshold for training requirements.

Independent contractors and freelancers who perform work for multiple companies and receive training may provide proof of training to other clients to meet the New York City requirements.  However, individual employers will continue to be held accountable for the actions of their contingent workers and therefore should take steps to confirm the training was completed and that the training meets the New York City training requirements.

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