The “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” — As An Employer, What You Should Know
Does your organization have a written policy concerning sexual harassment? If so, how is it disseminated to employees? And, what about training? Do you regularly conduct meetings with your employees to explain what sexual harassment is and why it is prohibited in your workplace? And, are these meetings mandatory – for all employees, from the CEO on down? If an employee feels she or he has been wrongfully subjected to sexual harassment, is there a clearly delineated procedure the employee can follow to seek and obtain redress?
If you answered anything but yes to each of the above questions, you will have to make some important adjustments in your human resources function. Recently, the NYC City Council passed 11 separate bills to provide better protection for employees when it comes to sexual harassment. Among other things, the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide training on the subject on an annual basis. Actually, that is two training sessions annually – one for hourly employees and a second one for managers and supervisors.
Here are some key points in the Act:
It seems that claims of sexual harassment have evolved into the “case du jour.” The NYC Act emphasizes that. We recommend that training be given for new employees at their orientation, and annually thereafter consistent with the new law. We also recommend that the “interactive training” be conducted live, as experience has told us that such training is the most effective. Finally, we recommend that the annual training be presented by an outside trainer (labor and employment attorney, HR consultant, etc.) as employees typically learn more when being taught by someone with whom they are not familiar.
If your organization would like assistance in writing a sexual harassment policy, designing an effective procedure for complaining employees to use and/or conducting the actual training, please contact Philip Mortensen or Scott Grubin.