Legal Media Analysts

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Everything you need to know about NY Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Trainings & Policies

Every NYS employer must provide their employees with both an annual sexual harassment prevention training and policy pursuant to Labor Law section 201-g. It is a misdemeanor for Employers to violate the Labor Law and likely will trigger an EPLI insurance provider to disclaim coverage in a prospective sex discrimination lawsuit.

  • Sexual Harassment Policies: All employers must adopt and provide a sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees by 10/9/18. If your company already has a sexual harassment policy, make sure that it meets or exceeds the newly required minimum standards.
  • All Employees Must Be Trained: Between 10/9/18 and 10/9/19 all employees must be trained and annually thereafter on each employee's anniversary, start date or date selected by employer.
  • New Employees Must Be Trained and Provided Policies ImmediatelyEmployers are liable for the actions of employees immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible.
  • NYC Independent Contractors: The NYC Commission on Human Rights requires employers with 15 or more employees (which includes independent contractors) to provide training to all independent contractors who have performed work for the employer for more than 90 days or 80 hours in a calendar year.
  • Policy and Training For Independent Contractors: The State Human Rights Law imposes liability on the employer for their actions and encourages employers to provide the policy and training to anyone providing services in the workplace including contractors, subcontractors, vendors and consultants.
Why Employers Should Not Use NYS Sample Policy:
  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.
Why Employers Should Not Use NYS Sample Training Videos:
  • NYS has released videos to comply with the NYS required sexual harassment training under Labor Law 201-g. However, the website for the videos expressly advises that they are non-compliant.  "the videos alone are NOT considered interactive. If you are using this video to meet the training requirements, you must also: ask questions of employees as part of the program; accommodate questions asked by employees, with answers provided in a timely manner; or require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented."
What To Look For In A Sexual Harassment Training Vendor:
  • A system to track that employees took the training in anticipation of a Department of Labor audit;
  • A system to track that the sexual harassment policy and complaint form were distributed in writing and agreed to be followed (i.e., clickwrap) by the employee - distribution of these documents is also required;
  • A branded policy and training, with both addressing all types of discrimination, beyond just sexual harassment, because the employer may face a discrimination suit on a different protected class and wouldn't want to have to explain to a jury why they only cared about sex discrimination, not the applicable protected class (e.g., race, marital status, disability, etc.); and
  • Most importantly, a digital on-demand product because the training needs to be instantly available to new employees (i.e., NYS requires trainings as soon as possible from start date and NYC requires trainings within 90 days of start date)
Why Lieb Compliance Is Your Solution: 
Lieb Compliance offers a solution that not only complies with all of the updated regulations but also helps defend prospective litigation.
  • Complies with both Labor Law 201-g and Local Law 96 (NYS / NYC requirements for sexual harassment prevention) 
  • Our platform is an interactive video that employees can take at their convenience with a high speed Internet connection. The platform includes a branded sexual harassment prevention policy and complaint form that requires employees to download and review the form
  • Our competitors rarely offer an opportunity for employers to require that their employees affirmatively agree to be bound by their policy through a digital clickwrap receipt 
  • Our content and instructor, Andrew Lieb, who teaches through case studies and practical advice, not theory. Mr. Lieb, Esq is an employment law litigator and is regarded as one of the best legal educators in the country who can make a boring required topic, like sexual harassment prevention, come to life through humor and fun. That is why our trainings have continuously received rave reviews from C-suite executives, who frequently tell us that our trainings have transformed employee compliance into a morale building experience. Simply, employees thank their bosses for hiring Lieb Compliance
To learn more, check out our demo and you will be sold.