New York State Increases Protections against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, New York workers will be assured additional resources to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers in the Empire State will be required to establish a sexual harassment prevention policy in accordance with new standards promulgated by the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”), and to provide workers with a complaint form to report incidents of sexual harassment. Further, employers will be required to provide all employees with sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis. The NYSDOL’s guidelines for these new policy and training requirements can be viewed here and here.
These new policies are significant in light of the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements because they recognize that many employers do not currently have sufficient safeguards in place to properly protect workers from sexual harassment. By implementing additional guidelines and requiring all employees to undergo sexual harassment prevention training annually, New York State is taking strides to promote a safer working environment for all.
In addition to mandating training to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the first place, the newly imposed policies and guidelines also seek to make employees feel more comfortable coming forward with sexual harassment complaints by providing clear mechanisms for doing so. Workers who face harassment at work and feel incapable of addressing the issue with their employers should be aware that federal, New York State, and New York City law all not only extend protections against sexual harassment, but also prohibit retaliation against employees who complain to their employers regarding, among other things, discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage violations. Accordingly, employees who are demoted, fired, subjected to unwarranted discipline, or otherwise retaliated against for complaining about such workplace issues may have legal claims against their employers.
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About Innessa Melamed Huot