New York State Department of Labor Issues Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Interactive Training Documents: Employers Must Adopt New Policy by October 9, 2018 and Provide Training by January 1, 2019

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - September 19, 2018

New York’s 2018-2019 State Budget contained several significant pieces of legislation addressing workplace sexual harassment, which we reviewed in our April 23, 2018 memorandum available here. Under the new N.Y. Labor Law Section 201-g, all employers in New York State (regardless of size) are required to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and training programs that meet or exceed the requirements in model documents issued by the Department of Labor. The model documents were issued in draft form at the end of August 2018, with the Department asking for comments on the draft to be submitted by September 12. The Department may issue revisions in the near future. The draft model documents include: 1) a definition of “sexual harassment,” which the State Budget provisions did not provide; 2) detailed instructions to be provided to employees about filing claims in federal and state court; and 3) a pronouncement that “managers and supervisors are required to report any complaint that they receive.” Employers must have compliant policies in place by the October 9 deadline. With respect to the required annual interactive sexual harassment training, although the new requirement providing that employers must provide the training on an annual basis becomes effective October 9, 2018 and thus arguably can be complied with by providing training by the one-year anniversary of the effective date, the Department of Labor takes the position that employers must train all employees by January 1, 2019.