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New Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Requirements. Does Your Policy Comply?

New York State requires all employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training and a harassment policy to its employees.  This requirement applies to all employees, including hourly and salaried, as well as part-time employees.  New York State also provides a modeltraining and model policy which set the standards for legal compliance.

Significantly, on April 11, 2023, New York State released revised training materials and a revised harassment policy.  Although the law has not changed, there are multiple revisions to the model policy and training.  Importantly, under the law, if an employer does not use the model New York State policy and training, the employer’s training must meet or exceed the standards in the model materials.

Even if you have sexual harassment prevention training and a policy, your materials may not be compliant with the new standards articulated by the State.  The revised New York State model training and policy materials have several additions, including expanding the definition of sexual harassment to include harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, gender identity, and the status of being transgender.  It also includes gender role stereotyping as a form of sexual harassment.  The materials further expand the workplace to include remote work environments and provide additional examples of retaliation.  The New York State model materials also add a section involving bystander intervention and outline additional elements for investigating claims.

This is not an exhaustive list of all of the changes in New York State’s model documents.  We encourage employers to review their sexual harassment prevention policy and training documents to ensure they are consistent with the revised New York State materials.