There is much concern in New York State about the requirements for policies and training under the new anti-harassment law.  Today, New York released its final guidance and model policy and training.  We want to reassure you that we are aware of the requirements from New York and have options available for you to meet the policy and training requirements.  Further, while the statute goes into effect on October 9, no one has suggested all policies and training must be completed by that date.  Under the recently released Frequently Asked Questions, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) set a deadline of January 1, 2019 for those business who contract with the State of New York and October 9, 2019 for all others.

If you are a small employer (17 or fewer employees), we are offering training at a flat rate at our Binghamton office on pre-selected dates and times in groups of 4 employers.  The training will involve all employees in the first hour, and supervisors for an additional 45 minutes.  For this program, we are unable to accommodate other training dates or times.  You will need to plan to train employees not available during your scheduled time on your own (i.e. we do not do make-up sessions).

For employers with more than 17 employees and smaller employers who prefer a customized option, we have customized training programs at a flat fee at your place of business throughout New York State.  These programs include review and editing of your policy, one training for all employees, and one separate training for supervisors.  We can add additional training times (supervisor or employee) for an additional fee.  We can also assist you in arranging for webinar-type broadcast of the program.

Unlike other training programs, if you choose, we will provide you with the materials for your future training needs.

For clients who obtain training elsewhere (or complete it in-house), we are able to provide review of policies, help you develop your own training program, and assist with drafting acknowledgments of receipt of policies and attendance at training.

There are many options out there for training consistent with the New York State requirements.  Whether you choose our firm or another vendor, you should ask the following questions:

1.    What subject(s) does your training cover?  The training should not cover solely sexual harassment, but preventing all harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and should cover retaliation as well.

2.    How do you customize the training for our workplace?  Each training should include examples that are relevant to the employees in your workplace, and should include clear guidance on the individual workplace’s complaint procedure.

3.    How long is the training for employees?  For supervisors?  Supervisor training should be extensive.  It should not simply be the same training all employees obtain.

4.     What additional topics do you cover for supervisors?  Supervisors should be trained on their role as agents of the company, their legal liability for preventing harassment, how to handle complaints, how to intervene to prevent harassment and discrimination, how to avoid retaliation, and how to manage performance to avoid harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims.  Supervisors should be given examples of each topic.

5.      How will you ensure the training is interactive? Does the trainer use questions and scenarios, do on-line programs have small quizzes as an employee progresses?

6.      Finally, how will employees have the opportunity to ask questions and how will they record attendance at their training?  If the program you choose does not provide opportunity for employees to have their questions answered, you may need to supplement the program with follow-up. Similarly, you will need to have acknowledgment of attendance at training.

We look forward to working with you to achieve compliance with these new regulations.  If you would like to talk to our attorneys about compliance with the new law or any other labor and employment matters, please do not hesitate to contact your usual HH&K attorney or any of the attorneys named below.

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For further information, please contact:

John C. Fish
(607) 231-6712
jfish@hhk.com

Miriam R. Schindel
(914) 694-4102
mschindel@hhk.com

Thomas A.  Conlon, Jr.
(607) 231-6744
tconlon@hhk.com

Dawn J. Lanouette
(607) 231-6917
dlanouette@hhk.com