NYC Sexual Harassment Training: Benefits And Responsibilities Involved In It

New York City employers must provide sexual harassment training to all employees and interns and retrain each calendar year. Training involves educating employees on acceptable and unacceptable behavior within the workplace and equipping them with the tools and knowledge needed to recognize and correct behavior perceived as inappropriate. 

Under Local Law 96 of 2018, employers with 15 or more employees need to conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. The Commission has developed online training which satisfies both the New York State and New York City sexual harassment prevention training requirements.

What is the Purpose of Sexual Harassment Training?

Sexual harassment training helps employees recognize and correct the behavior that violates a person’s dignity, privacy, well-being, or personal boundaries. 

  • The purpose of this anti-harassment training is to equip employees with the knowledge and tools needed to identify, avoid, and report inappropriate behavior within the workplace. 
  • Sexual harassment training also plays a vital role for those in managerial or supervisory positions since they are often held accountable for the corrective actions when this type of harassment occurs.
  • While blatant sexual harassment is often easy to recognize, subtle instances can be more difficult. Subtle harassment, defined as unwanted sexual comments, jokes, or innuendos, can create a hostile work environment or lead to quid pro quo harassment when it is allowed to continue. 
  • Quid pro quo harassment is when employment decisions are made based on an employee’s acceptance or rejection of unwanted sexual advances. An example of this type of harassment would be an employee getting fired because they refuse to go on a date with a supervisor.
  • In addition, sexual harassment training aims to inform employers on identifying both blatant and covert harassment within the workplace. Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. It does not matter what industry you work in, whether male or female or young or old. The bottom line is that all employees reserve the right to feel comfortable at their place of work, and providing sexual harassment training can be highly beneficial for both employers and employees.

What Does the New York City Law state? 

The New York City law, “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act,” applies to all employers with 15 or more employees and requires annual sexual harassment training for all employees, interns, independent contractors, and freelancers. 

  • Employers must provide sexual harassment training to all employees and interns by December 31, 2019, and retrain each calendar year. 
  • On January 11, 2020, the sexual harassment training requirement in the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) was expanded in scope to train not just employees and interns but also independent contractors and freelancers.
  • The New York City law also requires training of certain employees based outside of New York City. Regardless of where the employers are, they need to train all employees who work in New York City for more than 80 hours in a calendar year and at least 90 days. 
  • The same threshold of 80 hours and 90 days determines whether independent contractors and freelancers must be trained, regardless of location.

What Should You Know Before Taking The Training? 

At the end of the training, you will get a certificate of completion. Before you take the training, your employer should tell you how they want to receive the certificate.

Technology

  • The training takes approximately 45 minutes.
  • You can take this training on a computer or a phone.
  • This training requires Chrome 67 (or later), Firefox 66.0.4 (or later), or Safari 11.1.1 (or later).
  • You cannot save your progress. Do not refresh the page.
  • If you reload the page, you may lose your place and restart the training.

Accessibility for Users with Disabilities

  • The training is available to users with disabilities.
  • There are audio descriptions for the videos.
  • There is closed captioning for the videos.
  • There is also closed captioning as part of the training slides that will appear in the rare instances when the screen text differs from the voice-over audio.
  • There is alt-text for the images and the icons.

Employer Requirements for the Training

  • In NYC, employers must keep a record of employees’ training and retain records for three years.
  • In NYC, employers with 15 or more employees require training. 
  • Employers must provide annual sexual harassment prevention training.

What is Covered During Sexual Harassment Training?

Depending on which course you decide to go with, sexual harassment training courses can cover everything from basic principles and definitions to advanced legal jargon. Most sexual harassment training courses, at the very least, teach employees what constitutes sexual harassment, the legal definitions of discrimination and harassment, the local and federal laws are regarding harassment and company policies about sexual harassment. 

One such helpful aspect of these training courses is that they tend to use interactive content and real-world scenarios to teach employees what is appropriate workplace conduct and what is not.

Other subjects typically covered during sexual harassment training include:

  • Ethics and compliance
  • Examples of sexual harassment
  • Types of sexual harassment (quid pro quo and hostile work environment)
  • What you can do to prevent harassment and discrimination
  • What to do if you experience sexual harassment
  • What actions to take if you witness sexual harassment in the workplace

For managers, sexual harassment training consists of what they should do if an employee files a complaint and how to handle the situation in a professional yet compassionate manner. It is vital to cover this topic since company culture plays a significant role in preventing sexual harassment and discrimination. Liability often falls on managers when a complaint arises, so providing managers with sexual harassment training tends to be highly beneficial for organizations.

Benefits of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

  • The work environment becomes safer: Sexual harassment and discrimination create an unsafe workplace. You can eliminate the feelings of discomfort and fear created by training, which warrants a safe work environment that assures quality, efficiency, and profits.
  • Workplace culture is strengthened: By communicating an organization’s policies, goals, and values to its various members, training strengthens organizational culture and motivates individuals.
  • Training encourages reporting and empowers bystanders: The otherwise unreported discrimination and harassment will emerge when employers offer training. That will educate the concerned individuals and the bystanders about the accepted behaviors in the workplace.
  • Reduces compliance risk: When your workforce is untrained and ignorant of sexual harassment issues, your business is at potential legal, financial, and professional risk that might prove expensive. Training saves you from the consequences of such factors.

Responsibilities Involved in Employer’s Training 

Under Local Law 96 of 2018 and Local Law 95 of 2018, employers with 15 or more employees need to:

  • Conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees starting April 1, 2019. The employers need to train the newly hired within 90 days of the hire date.
  • Keep a record of all training, including a signed employee acknowledgment.
  • Conspicuously display the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice in both English and Spanish.
  • Distribute a Stop Sexual Harassment Act Fact sheet to individual employees.

Bottom Line

Though sexual harassment training is not a requirement in most places, all U.S. employers are obligated to maintain a harassment-free workplace for employees. For this reason, employment places are highly encouraged to provide workers with training on sexual harassment prevention.

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