NYC and NYS Harassment Prevention Law FAQ

When does training need to be completed for New York State and New York City employers?

NYS: employers with one or more employees must complete training by October 9, 2019 and complete compliant training annually thereafter. Training for new hires must be completed as soon as possible.

NYC: Effective April 2019, employers with 15 or more employees have one year to implement the training for all employees and must ensure all employees are trained annually thereafter.

In order to determine whether an employer has at least 15 employees, the employer must look back at the number of employees it employed at any point within the prior calendar year. If the employer determines it has or had at least 15 employees at any point during that time, it will be subject to the annual sexual harassment training requirements. The guidance does not specify if this count is limited to New York City employees.

Who needs to be trained?

    1. All employees regardless of immigration status, full-time and part-time employees, seasonal employees and temporary employees must receive training.
    2. Employees who work a portion of their time in New York State, even if they’re based in another state.
    3. NYC: All employees, including short-term or part-time employees, as well as independent contractors, are subject to the training requirements if they:
      1. Work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and
      2. Work for at least 90 days

What are the requirements for training?

NYS final guidance states that training may be in-person or online, so long as it is “interactive.” Interactivity requires employee participation. Training offered must meet minimum standards as outlined by the state and the city. The learning management system (LMS) we offer to deliver training exceeds the standards outlined by NYS and NYC.

Are employers in NYC and NYS required to provide the policy and training in languages other than English?

Employers should provide employees with training in the language spoken by their employees. When a template training is not available from the State (or other source) in an employee’s primary language, the employer may provide that employee an English-language version. However, employers may be held liable for the conduct of all of their employees, employers are strongly encouraged to provide a policy and training in the language spoken by the employee. Our LMS solution offers training in English and in Spanish and closed captioning.

What is the record keeping requirement?

NYS: Employers are encouraged (not required) to keep a signed acknowledgement and to keep a copy of training records. These records may be helpful in addressing any future complaints or lawsuits.

NYC: Employers must keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee policy acknowledgement. These may be kept electronically.

The LMS will keep records of employee training that should be downloaded and saved to the employers training files.

What are the posting requirements?

NYS: The state offers a poster, which is an optional tool, as one way to direct both employees and non-employees to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and should be displayed in a highly visible place.

NYC: Effective September 8, 2018 all employers in the city are required to conspicuously display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities notices in both English and Spanish and distribute a factsheet (English, Spanish) to individual employees at the time of hire which may be included in an employee handbook.

The posters should be located in breakrooms or other common areas accessible to all employees. Virtual postings, such as on electronic bulletin boards, are permitted only in lieu of physical postings if a convenient physical location is not available or if electronic posting is the most effective method of reaching employees.

What are the policy requirements?

Every employer in NYS was required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and complaint form by October 9, 2018. The policy must meet or exceed the minimum standards outlined by the state. Click here for a model policy provided by New York State. Employers must provide employees with their policy in writing or electronically. If a copy is made available on a work computer, workers must be able to print a copy for their own records.

What is the complaint form the State has required?

NYS Law requires all employers to adopt a sexual harassment policy that includes a complaint form for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment.

Does the complaint form need to be included, in full, in the policy?

No. Employers should, however, be clear about where the form may be found, for example, on a company’s internal website.

 

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF FAQ’S FROM NEW YORK STATE

Worried About Retention? The Best Way to Keep Employees Is to Be Useful to Them

According to Gallup, 51% of employees are looking for a new job, and 68% of employees believe they are overqualified for the job they have. Even engaged employees are job hunting at an alarming rate—37%. Employees who change jobs cite career growth opportunities, pay and benefits, management, company culture, and job fit as reasons for doing so.

Employees surveyed said they want to do what they do best while maintaining a good work-life balance. They desire a secure and stable job that pays well and contributes to their personal wellbeing. They’re likely to leave their current employer if they can get a more flexible work schedule or a significant pay increase elsewhere.

To retain employees—especially top performers—employers often look for perks they can offer to make employment with them more attractive and to keep good employees from leaving. We believe perks are nice, and they can encourage retention, but providing an assortment of distinguishing perks won’t keep employees long-term unless those perks meet essential employee needs.

The best way to retain employees is to remember why they became your employees to begin with—they have wants and needs, and employment with you enables them to meet those wants and needs. In other words, you’re useful to them (as they are to you). When your organization ceases to be useful or becomes less useful than another employer, employees might start looking for the next best (most useful) opportunity. The more useful you can be, the more inclined employees will be to stay with you. Fortunately, meeting your respective needs can be a solid basis for long-term collaboration and shared success. Here’s how:

  • Talk to your employees about what knowledge, skills, and abilities they think would help them do their job better or make additional contributions to the organization. By involving employees in the discussions and decisions about what training they receive, you help them gain a sense of ownership over their work, their professional development, and their futures.
  • Provide coaching and training opportunities that bring value to your organization and the professional development of your employees. Yes, training may make your workers more employable elsewhere, but it also prepares them for a better future working for you. You can increase the likelihood that your employees will use the training they receive for your benefit by giving them opportunities to put what they’ve learned to immediate use and rewarding them when the new skills and extra effort pay off. Prompt application of what they’ve learned will help solidify their knowledge, while the positive reinforcement will encourage continued use of the new skills.
  • Involve employees in company initiatives that make use of their skills or teach them new ones. Not only will this help prevent their jobs from becoming too repetitive, they’ll gain valuable experience and form a connection to the organization that goes beyond their initial job duties.
  • Make work meaningful and highlight the good that your organization does. This is especially important if the typical job duties of an employee feel mundane or uninspiring. If you’re paying someone to do a job, that job is essential to the mission of your organization. And that mission has value. Make sure employees know that their work, however repetitive or unexciting, matters. Take pride in the good you all do. Show your appreciation and gratitude. Recognize workers for a job well done. People want to feel appreciated, that they’re important, and that they’re involved in valuable work. You can help fulfill these wants.
  • Encourage social interactions among workers. While money might be the primary reason people get jobs, it’s not the only reason. People tend to seek social connections and enjoy interacting with others. They like doing things with other people, and the workplace can be a great place to make friends, build community, and collaborate on a meaningful enterprise.
  • Offer bonuses when your company meets its financial goals and when employees meet their individual and team goals. Bonuses motivate employees to be more engaged and productive by rewarding them with a tangible return on their investment.
  • If feasible, offer raises to account for cost-of-living increases, job performance, and individual accomplishments. Like bonuses, raises encourage efficient and productive work by rewarding it. Of course, huge pay increases simply aren’t an option for many companies, especially small to medium-sized businesses. As much as these employers might want to pay higher salaries and wages, they don’t have the extra funds. If you’re unable to offer substantial raises or bonuses, the non-monetary rewards mentioned above become all the more useful and important.

There’s no guarantee that every hire will be the right fit and stay with your company as long as you’d like, but you can help improve retention—and cut down on its costs—by remaining useful to your employees. Your employees want to succeed in their professions as much as you do in your business. By aligning their individual success with your organizational success, you give them huge incentive to stay, improve their skills, and put those skills to good use in your organization.

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