New sexual harassment prevention guidelines are due

As of Tuesday, employers in New York, regardless of their size, needed to have sexual harassment prevention policies in place.

And they have a couple of options in regard to those regulations, according to Edward Steve, partner in Harter, Secrest and Emery’s Labor and Employment Practice.

“The state issued a model policy, which employers could either adopt, or employers could have their policy, provided that it met the state’s minimum requirements,” he said.

The state’s website lists those minimum standards, which include providing examples of what of sexual harassment is, complaint forms for employees, additional responsibilities for supervisors, and a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints.

Steve says employers he’s talked to are concerned about how to implement new rules regarding harassment and non-employees in the workplace.

“It’s always been the case that non-employees, (such as) the Federal Express Delivery person, could not harass employees of the employer.  Under the new rules, the employers and employees can now not harass the Federal Express delivery person,” he said. 

Steve says employers have questions about how to notify non-employees of their policies.

The regulations state that someone’s employer, and the business that operates in your worksite, are both required to provide a harassment-free workplace.

The state also requires sexual harassment prevention training.

Steve says many employers, particularly the smaller ones, are concerned about the costs associated with that mandatory training, which is now due by October 9, 2019.

He says they’re telling them to get started on the training sooner, rather than later.

That’s because employers are going to be liable for employees conduct in the workplace regardless of the training due date.

Steve adds the new guidelines have certainly raised awareness about the issue of sexual harassment, and it’s gotten employers talking about how to respond to this.

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