Employer Comments Urgently Needed On New York Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
(Previous alerts on this issue can be found here.)
The stringent new training requirements include:
- Every employee must complete training between Oct. 9, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019
- After Jan. 1, 2019, each new employee must complete training within 30 calendar days of their initial hire date
- These requirements apply to part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees
- Employers are discouraged from relying on an employee’s previous employer’s training to fulfill these requirements
In addition, the State strongly encourages employers to have a live trainer available during all trainings to respond to employees’ questions.
The State has asked employers to submit comments by September 12, 2018. It is imperative that employers voice any concerns through this simple online form, as the State may change the requirements in response to these comments.
We recognize that employers will have many different perspectives on these items. Without endorsing any particular views, below are comments that some employers may want to consider submitting::
- The January 1, 2019 deadline is too short to complete all trainings. With days off for Thanksgiving, December holidays, and others, there is not enough time for employers to complete the trainings.
- Trainings that took place earlier in calendar year 2018 that meet substantially all of the State’s requirements should be counted towards the requirement for compliance in the first year.
- The State should only require trainings as of the 90th day after the initial hire date. The requirement to train employees within 30 calendar days of their start date is too burdensome for many businesses. For high-growth or high-turnover businesses, this would require employers to conduct trainings on a monthly basis.
- The requirement to train employees within 30 calendar days of their start date should, at the very least, be relaxed for part-time, temporary, or seasonal employees. Employers would now bear the disproportionate burden of arranging, conducting, or otherwise facilitating half a dozen trainings per year. The State should only require trainings as of the 90th day after the initial hire date, which will reduce the burden on employers while still providing sufficient training for employees.
- The State should waive the training requirement for new employees if the new employee can verify that he/she has already undergone training in New York State in that calendar year, whether through a previous employer or through a temporary help firm.
- Employers should not be required to conduct trainings for employees who are based outside of New York and work within New York State for less than 90 days. Likewise, employers should not be required to conduct trainings for employees who are based outside of New York and work within New York State for more than 90 days, provided that those employees can verify that they have undergone training in their home state that meets substantially all of New York State’s training requirements.
- Temporary help firms should be encouraged to provide training for employees placed with New York State employers. Additionally, temporary help firms should facilitate the process of verifying the timing and substance of an employee’s prior training on sexual harassment.
- Paying for live trainers to be available at every new-hire training presents a potentially onerous financial burden, particularly if the new-hire trainings must take place every 30 days. This expectation should be focused only on the annual trainings, not the new-hire trainings. The State could then strongly suggest that employers have new hires attend the annual training in addition to the “new hire” training.
Regardless of the ultimate timeline and/or requirements, employers will still be required to publish new anti-harassment policies and conduct trainings for all employees.
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