United States: New Mandatory Harassment Training Requirements Go Into Effect For NYC Firms

Key Points

  • The training requirements of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act went into effect on April 1, 2019. The new requirements add to those already in place for New York City firms under the New York Labor Law (NYLL).
  • Covered employees must receive the training by December 31, 2019; firms also must obtain written acknowledgments confirming employees' participation in the training and must maintain such acknowledgements for at least three (3) years.
  • Firms also must post a notice about sexual harassment, in English and Spanish, in a conspicuous location in the workplace and must distribute a fact sheet about sexual harassment to new employees.

The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

On April 1, 2019, the mandatory harassment training requirements of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the "Act") went into effect. On that same date, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the "Commission") issued FAQs (which can be found here) that provide guidance on the new law. The Act adds to the training requirements already imposed on New York City-based firms under the NYLL, which went into effect last October (see our Hedge Up regarding the amendments to the NYLL and other #MeToo legislation here). Among the key aspects of the new New York City law are the following:

  • Covered Firms: The Act covers firms that have at least fifteen (15) employees or other service providers, including full-time, part-time and temporary employees; interns; and/or individual independent contractors (and all firms that had at least fifteen (15) employees or other service providers at any point in the previous calendar year).
  • Individuals to be Trained: All employees and interns must receive training if they work more than ninety (90) days and eighty (80) hours in a calendar year. According to the Commission, the training requirement extends not only to employees based in New York City, but also to employees "who work[] a portion of their time" in New York City or who even "interact[] with" employees in New York City. This interpretation could impose considerable new training obligations on firms with large staffs located outside of New York City. We anticipate future litigation over the purported extraterritorial reach of the Act.
  • Employees Who Previously Received Training: Employees need to be trained only once during each annual training cycle. Thus, if an employee has received adequate training from another employer, he or she does not need to be retrained by a new employer until the following year. It is the new firm's responsibility to ensure the employee's previous training was sufficient to comply with the Act.
  • Independent Contractors: Individual independent contractors do not need to be trained, but the Commission "strongly advise[s]" such training if the contractors are regularly in the workplace and will meet the ninety (90) day and eighty (80) hour thresholds. Also, as noted above, individual contractors do count in determining whether a firm has the requisite fifteen (15) employees or other service providers to be covered by the Act's training requirements.
  • Required Elements of the Training: At a minimum, training must (i) explain sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under New York City law; (ii) explain that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under New York State and federal law; (iii) describe what constitutes sexual harassment, using examples; (iv) discuss the firm's internal complaint process; (v) describe how to file a complaint with the Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and include the relevant contact information for each; (vi) discuss the prohibition on unlawful retaliation under the Act; (vii) provide information about bystander intervention (such as how bystanders can confront harassers and assist victims); and (viii) discuss the responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in preventing sexual harassment and retaliation and discuss how such employees should address sexual harassment complaints. The training must be "interactive," meaning that it must be participatory, including the use of audio-visuals, trainer-trainee interaction, and/or an interactive computer or online program.
  • Commission Training Module: In accordance with the Act, the Commission has developed an anti-sexual harassment training module that firms can use to comply with the new law. The module (available here) comes at no cost and satisfies the training requirements imposed by the NYLL. But, the module is not targeted to the investment management industry and its subject matter is limited to harassment based on gender, gender identity and sexual preference (without addressing discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, family status or any other protected categories). The Commission's module also has limited functionality; errant keystrokes can send a user back to the first slide, forcing him or her to repeat the entire training, and users cannot save their progress, meaning they must complete the training all in one sitting.
  • Timing of Training: According to the Commission, covered firms must provide training to covered employees by December 31, 2019. This guidance appears to conflict with the statutory language itself, which requires the training to be "annual[]," and, thus, would appear to allow firms until March 31, 2020, to complete the first cycle of training.
  • Record of Training: Firms must obtain signed acknowledgments from employees who attend such training (which can be in hard copy or electronic form), and must save such records for at least three (3) years.
  • Notice Posting Requirement: The Act also requires all firms (regardless of size) to post a notice about sexual harassment, in both English and Spanish, in a conspicuous location in the workplace. The notice can be found here (English) and here (Spanish). The FAQs propose posting these notices in break rooms, in common areas or in an electronic posting that employees can easily access.
  • Fact Sheet: All firms (regardless of size) also must distribute a fact sheet (available here) to all new employees no later than the end of the employee's first week of work. The fact sheet can be appended to an employee handbook, contained within other onboarding materials or distributed in another manner.

What Now?

  • To the extent firms have not already done so, they should post the required notice (in both English and Spanish), and should begin distributing the required fact sheet to new hires. The notice and fact sheet requirements have been in place since September 2018, so if firms have not made the fact sheet available to employees onboarded since that time, they should consider doing so.
  • Firms should determine whether they have (or in the previous year had) fifteen (15) employees or other service providers, such that the firm is covered by the Act's training requirements. If not, and if a firm already has provided the training required by the NYLL, then it will have no further harassment training obligation until the NYLL's next cycle (2019-2020).
  • If the Act applies, firms must determine which employees must receive the training. As noted above, this may include employees based outside of New York City.
  • Firms should determine when they are going to provide the required training. For firms that have not yet provided training under the NYLL, the "sweet spot" for training sessions is between now and the end of the first NYLL cycle (i.e., October 9, 2019), such that the training can satisfy the first annual training requirement under both the state and city laws.
  • Firms also should determine how they are going to provide the training. The lowest cost option is to have all employees view the Commission's module, despite its subject-matter and technological limitations. Firms will have to weigh the advantages of such an approach (largely, the cost savings) against its risks (including the risk of future allegations that the firm failed to treat discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, family status and other protected categories as seriously as it treats gender-based discrimination and harassment).
  • By December 31, 2019, firms should have all applicable employees complete the training; firms also must obtain signed acknowledgements from the employees completing the training and retain them for at least three (3) years.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions