By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
All employees must complete the model training (link) or a comparable training that meets the minimum standards (link) by October 9, 2019.
How often must employees receive sexual harassment training?
Employees must be trained at least once per year. In subsequent years, this may be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date or any other date the employer chooses.
What about new employees? As employers may be liable for the actions of employees immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible. Employers should distribute the policy to employees prior to commencing work and should have it posted.
What if an employee only works part-time? Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training.
What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year? It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices. If both you and the individual’s former employer use the same unmodified state model training or one of similar substance (for example, shared training provided by a labor union or employer group), you may consider the employee trained. However, even if the same training is used, may still wish to train all new employees to your standards.
What does “interactive” mean? New York State law requires all sexual harassment training to be interactive. It requires some form of employee participation, meaning the training may:
Be web-based with questions asked of employees as part of the program;
Accommodate questions asked by employees;
Include a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions; and/or
Require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented.
Does the free New York State online training meet the interactivity requirement? No, but the free New York City anti-harassment training course provided by the NYC Commission on Human Rights that was released on April 1, 2019, does comply with the New York State interactivity requirements.
What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it? Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.
What about temporary / transient employees? If someone just works for one day for the employer, or if someone works for just one day in NY? Employers are required to ensure that all New York State employees receive training.
What if my company works with New York State agencies? As of January 1, 2019, employers submitting bids to New York State or any of its public departments or agencies for a public contract will need to include a prescribed statement in the bid certifying compliance with the sexual harassment prevention policy and annual training requirements. Failure to provide such certified statement may result in ineligibility for the contract.
Preston Clark, J.D.
Preston Clark founded Impactly in 2018 to help employers address harassment & discrimination prevention both effectively and at scale. Preston is a former Peace Corps volunteer and in-house attorney, who has been at the forefront of prevention and compliance education for over a decade.
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