The State of New York recently issued draft guidance for employers regarding the anti-sexual harassment legislation passed earlier this year. As we previously reported, effective October 9, 2018, all New York employers must either adopt or create a policy that equals or exceeds the State’s model policy and training program. On August 23, 2018, the State released its model policy and a set of minimum standards that an employer must meet or exceed if it chooses not to adopt the model policy. A few of the key standards require that an employer’s policy include:

  • Examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  • A procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties;
  • A complaint form; and
  • Language that informs employees of their rights and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially.

The State also released its model training script and a set of minimum standards that an employer must meet or exceed if it chooses not to directly follow the model. Notable guidelines require that the training must:

  • Be interactive;
  • Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment; and
  • Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.

Additionally, the Frequently Asked Questions section of the State’s guidelines clarifies that to meet the “interactive” element required by the law, a training may: (1) be web-based with questions asked of employees; (2) accommodate questions asked by employees; (3) include a live trainer made available during the training to answer questions; and/or (4) require feedback from employees about the training and materials presented.

The Labor and Employment Team at Hogan Lovells has extensive experience providing interactive anti-harassment training, and developing anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures. For assistance with complying with these new guidelines or for any other employment matter impacting your business, please contact the authors of this article or the attorney you regularly work with at Hogan Lovells.