First Year Down – NYS Sexual Harassment

By Jennifer Pawlak

Well, it’s been a year since New York State enacted the regulations pertaining to its new Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace program. New York was the first state in the country to establish a program like this and we see other states are following suit.

Federally, these laws prohibit discrimination and harassment:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act – prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act – prohibits discrimination based on age
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – prohibits discrimination based on disability
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act – prohibits discrimination based on genetic information

Not totally sure what the NYS changes are ?

Here are some highlights of what is “new and different” that might surprise you (these go above and beyond what is already provided for in Federal law):

  • Every employee must take a yearly anti-harassment training.
  • Public employees can now be held personally liable for harassment.
  • If you hire contractors or third parties, your organization could be responsible for harassment allegations if there is no policy or training in place.
  • Compliance with the new law is required if you wish to bid on public contracts.
  • Supervisors have heightened responsibilities to combat sexual harassment.

So, over the last 365 days, how has your organization complied with the requirements?

  • Have all your employees been trained according to NYS standards?
  • Have you adopted a written sexual harassment prevention policy (separate from other anti-harassment policies)?
  • Have you provided a harassment complaint form to your employees?

Hopefully, your answers were all yes! Remember that creating and fostering a workplace free from harassment is not only required, it’s the right thing to do.

Need to get your employees trained per NYS requirements? Reach out to Paragon Compliance for a no obligation review.

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