On August 23, 2018, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) released written guidance addressing new requirements under New York State law that are designed to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  The material outlines proposed minimum standards, training requirements and other compliance materials for the new state law.  This release comes as the October 9, 2018 deadline for compliance approaches for all employers in the state as well as for state contractors, who must comply by Jan 1, 201,9 as part of a comprehensive sexual harassment law passed earlier this year.  (See our prior blog regarding this topic here.)  The draft templates are open for public comment until September 12, 2018, after which the NYSDOL will review comments, make any revisions it deems necessary, and release final versions of these materials.  The documents just released by the State include a model sexual harassment prevention policy, a model sexual harassment training script; a model sexual harassment complaint form; additional explanations of employers’ legal obligations, and FAQs concerning compliance with the new statutory requirements. (These documents can be accessed here.)  The documents have been released in draft form, but employers can anticipate that the State will finalize the published documents shortly before the law’s October 9 effective date.

According to the NYSDOL, all covered New York employers must ensure their employees have received sexual harassment training that is compliant with the new law no later than January 1, 2019, rather than one year following the law’s October 9 effective date.  New employees must receive training within 30 calendar days of their start date. The training must be interactive and must explain each part of the model policy, or whatever policy the employer chooses to adopt beyond the minimum standards.  The FAQs note that employers can provide the policy to employees electronically, but workers must be able to access the policy during work time and be able to print a copy for their records.  Employers should review existing policies and training materials to ensure compliance before year-end.  While employers are not required to adopt the NYSDOL’s model sexual harassment prevention policy or the model complaint form, all sexual harassment prevention policies must equal or exceed the State of New York’s minimum standard guidelines in the new “Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies” document by the October 9, 2018 deadline.  New York City employers are subject to additional training requirements (see here).