In October 2017, The New York Times broke a story about how the powerful producer Harvey Weinstein engaged in sexual harassment for decades against hundreds of actresses and sabotaged the careers of those who spoke up against him. That same month, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter and urged women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to write two words on Twitter: “Me too.” “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” wrote the actress. Within 48 hours there were more than 12 million “metoo” posts on social media. Based on an online survey conducted in January 2018, more than 80% of women have experienced sexual harassment. And, based on a survey of in-house counsel, conducted by Emtrain, most workplace harassment incidents go unreported.
New York Responds to #MeToo
In response to the #metoo movement, both the New York City Council and New York State have passed laws requiring New York employers to train ALL employees EVERY year in an effort to STOP sexual harassment in the workplace.
The New York state law goes into effect on October 9, 2018, and requires all employees in the state of New York be trained by December 31, 2019. Emtrain’s VP of Workplace Strategy Patti Perez submitted comments to New York’s Sexual Harassment Training requirements. Final training regulations are anticipated soon, but New York state has published a model training program that employers can use for free.
New York city law goes into effect in April 2019 and similar to the state law, the City law requires workforce-wide training on sexual harassment prevention every year. As part of New York City’s training requirements, employers must include bystander intervention training as well as contact information for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and lastly, include the employee’s signed acknowledgment of the training which can be created and stored electronically.
Comparing the NY and NYC Mandates
Patti has spoken on the #metoo movement and best practices in sexual harassment training programs at New York City SHRM with a goal to empower everyone to go from bystander to upstander in terms of preventing sexual harassment.
Emtrain has stepped up to partner with New York employers by providing its own version of a sexual harassment train the trainer program to enable lawyers and HR professionals to deliver engaging sexual harassment workshops without having to create the materials from scratch.
New York and NYC Sexual Harassment Prevention Resources
Want to learn more about complying with New York’s new sexual harassment prevention training mandates? Preview our New York sexual harassment prevention course and check out these New York-specific sexual harassment prevention resources:
- [Blog] Now what? Three Steps to Implementing New Sexual Harassment Training in New York and California. In California, New York, and Delaware, employers will now need to train all employees on harassment prevention. How are you going to deliver a training that employees actually appreciate, that helps curb bad behavior and doesn’t take a huge amount of your time? And how are you going to pay for it? We’ve put together some prescriptive and practical ideas to help.
- [Fact Sheet] New York State and New York City Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Laws. This fact sheet covers the details around the training requirements and focuses on the most frequently asked questions. In addition, takeaways and action items are listed so employers with New York employees are fully prepared to be compliant with these new training requirements.
- [Blog] An Open Letter to the State of New York Regarding Workplace Sexual Harassment. This letter focuses on three documents —the sample policy, the sample complaint form and the guidance on training—and provides suggestions on how to improve them to make it more likely to assist employers and employees in their quest to end harassment.
- [Blog] T-Minus Ten Weeks: What Companies with New York-based Employees Must Do to Comply with Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Mandates. Many employers with operations in New York state and/or New York City have questions about how to comply. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about the new laws—and their answers.
- [Blog] 4 Interesting Aspects of New York’s New Harassment Prevention Laws. The new New York State and New York City laws on sexual harassment prevention are the broadest of their kind. Here are some of their unique aspects, and our thoughts on why they matter.