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NYS Sexual Harassment Update
Mindy Stern SPHR, SHRM-SCP on 10/04/2018
NYS Sexual Harassment Guidelines Update October 2018
New York State has finalized its Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace program. Specifically, final versions of a model policy and complaint form were issued, along with sample training program contents. The State also updated answers to its "frequently asked questions" section.
Some of the highlights of the State's revised guidance include:
* Harassment training must now be completed by October 9, 2019. However, employer still must distribute a new harassment prevention policy and complaint form by October 9, 2018;
* Thereafter, all employees working within New York State must receive training at least once per year. All employees who work within New York State are covered, even if the employee primarily works or lives in another state;
* All new employees should be trained after hire, but the 30 calendar-day requirement has been removed;
* Guidelines regarding interactive training have been revised, permitting employers to use a variety of live or web-based training programs; however, requirements still remain; and,
* Employers must provide training in the language that is spoken by their employees, subject to certain limitations.
In addition, the guidance still requires that the company's sexual harassment policy be updated to include, among other things:
* Examples of prohibited conduct
* Information concerning state and federal statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
* A complaint form (although it does not necessarily need to be attached to the policy itself in the handbook) * A statement that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct
* Clearly stating that retaliation against individuals who complain or who testify or assist in any sexual harassment investigation is unlawful
Please note that all existing harassment prevention policies will need to be updated, based on the new guidance. Additionally, complaint forms must be prepared, and managerial staff trained on handling harassment complaints.