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Sexual Harassment in New York (NY)


Sexual Harassment in New York (NY)

Sexual harassment involves unwelcome conduct that is used as the basis for employment decisions or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. All New York employers are covered New York’s anti-sexual harassment law. The following chart explains the law and its requirements in detail.

What is Illegal Sexual Harassment?

Harassment is generally illegal when unwelcome conduct is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.

What Are the Types of Sexual Harassment?

  • Hostile environment: Generally words, signs, or violence of a sexual nature directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex.
  • Quid pro quo: A person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment, or any other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

When Are Employers Liable for Harassment?

  • When it is conducted by an owner or high-level manager.
  • When it is conducted by a lower-level manager or a supervisor, if that supervisor has sufficient control over the victim’s working conditions.
  • When it knew or should have known about an employee’s harassment and was negligent about preventing or stopping it. Notably, any manager’s knowledge will be imputed to the employer.
  • When it, its agents, or its supervisors knew or should have known of the sexual harassment of non-employees in its workplace.

Must Employers Adopt Policies or Provide Notice to Employees?

Yes. Effective September 6, 2018, New York City (NYC) employers must post a sexual harassment poster in employee breakrooms or other common areas and distribute a sexual harassment information sheet to employees at the time of hire.

In addition, effective October 9, 2018, all New York employers must adopt either a model sexual harassment prevention policy issued by the state or one that equals or exceeds the standards of the state policy, and provide it to employees in writing.

Must Employers Provide Sexual Harassment Training?

Yes. Effective October 9, 2018, New York employers must provide training annually to all employees using either a model training program to be issued by the state or one that equals or exceeds the state program.

Additionally, starting April 1, 2019, NYC employers with 15 or more employees must:

  • Annually conduct training for all employees that slightly differs from the state-required training; and
  • Keep a record of all trainings for at least 3 years.

Notably, an employer with training requirements in multiple jurisdictions complies with NYC law if the NYC requirements are fulfilled in annual employee training.

Additional requirements and exceptions to the information above may apply. For more information, please contact the New York State Division of Human Rights at 888-392-3644 or the New York City Commission on Human Rights at 718-722-3131.

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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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