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New sexual harassment prevention laws will require all New York workers to receive sexual harassment training.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the release of finalized materials and guidance on New York's new sexual harassment prevention laws.

The state received and reviewed hundreds of constructive and substantive comments from a wide range of individuals, advocates, industries, worker groups, employers and business organizations before announcing the finalized materials, officials say.

"While the federal government repeatedly ignores the voices of women speaking out against the scourge of sexual violence, in New York we are taking action," Governor Cuomo said. "We are doing everything in our power to crack down on sexual harassment and ensure inappropriate workplace conduct is addressed swiftly and appropriately. These common sense policies will help employees and employers know their rights and responsibilities and help enforce the strongest anti-sexual harassment package in the nation."

 

On April 12, Governor Cuomo signed into law the 2019 New York State Budget, which includes what the governor's office describes as "the nation's strongest and most comprehensive sexual harassment package."

The new law:

  • Prohibits employers from using a mandatory arbitration provision in an employment contract in relation to sexual harassment;
  • Requires officers and employees of the state or of any public entity to reimburse the state for any state or public payment made upon a judgment of intentional wrongdoing related to sexual harassment;
  • Ensures that nondisclosure agreements can only be used when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim; and
  • Amends the Human Rights Law to protect contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Establishes minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and training. All employers operating in New York State are required to either adopt and use the State's model policy and training as-is, or to use the models as a basis to establish their own policy and training. All employees working in New York State must receive sexual harassment training by or before October 9, 2019.

The following items were released Monday:

  • Updated website with resources for employers, employees, state contractors and targets of sexual harassment
  • Updated model sexual harassment prevention policy
  • Updated model sexual harassment complaint form
  • Updated model training (script book and PowerPoint presentation)
  • Updated minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and trainings
  • Updated FAQs

Toolkits for employers and employees and a sexual harassment prevention policy poster are also being made available, officials say.

The training and policy are being made available in Word and PowerPoint and will be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Italian, Polish and Haitian-Creole.

A video training will be released in the near future.

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