As last year’s #MeToo movement gained momentum, both the State of New York and New York City responded with new regulations aimed at curbing sexual harassment in the workplace. Part of this effort was ensuring that guidelines and requirements were clearly communicated. But so far, it’s been anything but clear.
Here’s what we know. New York State has issued a new Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Requirements for all businesses. In addition, New York City has also issued requirements. If your restaurant is in New York City, you’ll need to comply with both state and city regulations. Under new state law, all employers must conduct sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. Under recently enacted City law, all employers with 15 or more employees must conduct City-mandated sexual harassment prevention training. Work is being done to clarify just what that means.
In the meantime, we’ve narrowed down the four key points you’ll need to implement:
Employees Must be Notified of the Sexual Harassment Policy
This can easily be done by displaying a poster in English and Spanish about the anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities. You must also distribute a fact sheet to all new and current employees. To make things easier for you, the New York State Department has a model policy that you can use. Just visit their website to request the poster and policy.
Mandatory Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
April 1st, all NYC employers with 15 or more employees must provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees annually. In addition, the State has enacted its own training requirements for any business with one or more employee. Interactive training modules are currently being developed that will cover both of these requirements — for those in the City — and will be available as a resource from a number of sources public and private sources.
Employers cannot require employees to mandatory legal arbitration to settle any allegation of sexual harassment.
Nondisclosure Agreements Regulated
The law also states no settled agreement involving a sexual harassment claim may include a confidentiality provision unless confidentiality is the “complainant’s preference.”
As more information becomes available and the industry and government clarify all of these issues, we’ll keep you updated. To learn more, or to print out the Anti-Sexual Harassment Rights poster or module policy visit the New York State website at https://www.ny.gov/programs/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace.