As we previously reported in our last client alert, Governor Cuomo signed new changes to the Human Rights Law that greatly increased employers’ duties in the realm of sexual harassment prevention. Recently, New York State updated its guidance on these new changes.
Under the new law, all employers must distribute a Notice containing the employer’s sexual harassment prevention policy and complaint form, as well as the training materials presented at the employer’s sexual harassment prevention training program.
The Notice must be delivered in writing, which includes in print or digitally (for example, via email). The Notice must link to or include, as an attachment or printed copy, the policy and training materials. The State’s updated FAQs state that new employees should receive the Notice, policy, and training materials prior to or at the beginning of their first day of work. The FAQs still state that the actual training of new employees should occur “as soon as possible.” Providing the Notice is not a substitute for the mandatory interactive training.
To meet this new obligation, employers can find the State’s template Notice here. Note that the law requires the Notice to be provided in a variety of languages identified by an employee as his or her primary language, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Bengali, or Italian. However, the “best practice” is to provide training and the required documents in whatever language might be an employee’s primary language, even if it is not one of the identified languages.
Employers should take the appropriate steps to ensure that the Notice and their policy, complaint form, and all training materials are distributed to new employees immediately upon hire, and to all employees when they receive their annual sexual harassment prevention training. As always, Matt Miller and our team of employment attorneys can assist you with more information on this new notice requirement, or other questions about New York or federal employment law.