The gradual reopening of society has created increased hopes of an imminent return to normalcy, including returning to the office. Meanwhile, as New York employers begin rolling out their return-to-office plans, there will be a foreseeable and significant uptick in employee social interactions inside and outside of the office, such as at company-sponsored happy hours and holiday events.

We remind New York employers of all sizes to not overlook their legal obligations to, among other things, conduct annual anti-harassment training in accordance with the requirements set forth by New York state (and, if applicable, New York City). Employers should ensure their anti-harassment policy is up to date and provided to employees during trainings as well as during employee orientation.

In addition, employers also have an obligation to post notices related to anti-harassment (among other topics) and should ensure theses notices are posted conspicuously and in accordance with local law. For example, under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, employers must post the prescribed notice in both English and Spanish. Compliance with these and all other requirements concerning the prevention of sexual and other forms of harassment will not only reduce legal exposure but also create a safer and more comfortable work environment for all returning employees.