Beginning this fall, employers in New York State will be required to provide interactive harassment prevention training to employees. This is not a new concept – such training has been mandated for years in California, Connecticut and Maine – but the scope, nature and frequency of the training are quite different from what other states have legally required. Consider:
- All private employers are covered – other states only mandate employers of a certain size to provide such training; New York’s law applies to every private sector employer;
- All employees are covered – other states only mandate training for those at a supervisor level or above; New York’s law covers employees at every level of the organization;
- It must be done annually – other states require biannual training;
- It needs to cover legal rights and remedies with regard to sexual harassment – other states take a more holistic approach to discussing all forms of unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation; a prudent New York State employer would do the same and look beyond just sexual harassment;
- There is no minimum duration – other states mandate two hours of training; New York sets no time limit, but mandates interactivity and a list of subjects to be covered.
The Department of Labor and the Division of Human Rights are currently working to develop a model of the type of training program they expect employers to implement.