Monday, October 29, 2018

Sexual Harassment - 3 reasons why the NYS sample policy is just not enough.

Yes, New York State provides a sample policy for sexual harassment prevention. Make no mistake this policy is a great start for employers, but to use this policy without more is a big mistake. Here are 3 reasons why the NYS sample policy is just not enough:

1. It does not address every other protected class under which an employer can be sued for discrimination (e.g., race, religion, color, national origin, sex [including pregnancy], military status, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, disability or any other personal characteristics considered to be a protected class under applicable federal, state or local laws)

Updating the policy matters because when sued for discrimination by a different protected class, you will be able to explain that everyone is protected in the workplace.

2. It does not list potential remedial measures (e.g., termination, suspension, probation, demotion, reassignment, etc.).

Updating the policy matters because employees who do not know the consequences are unlikely to care about changing behavior and, more importantly, without clear expectations an employer can be sued for arbitrarily applying their policy in a discriminatory manner.

3. It does not cause an employee to agree to its terms and to acknowledge written receipt of the policy and complaint form, which is required by law.

Updating the policy matters because without records you have nothing when faced with a Department of Labor audit or a prospective lawsuit. More so, you can justify termination for cause when an employee violates your policy, which they affirmatively agreed to follow.


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