On the heels of New York State passing sweeping anti-sexual harassment protections, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation on May 9, 2018, making the City the latest jurisdiction to respond to the #MeToo movement by passing new anti-sexual harassment legislation. New York City’s “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” is more expansive than many, and includes far-reaching provisions designed to protect employees at even the smallest employers. As a result, employers of all sizes with employees in New York City will need to adjust their policies and practices to ensure that they are in compliance with these new requirements.
Expanded Reach of the Law and Extended Limitations Period
Effective immediately, the new law extends the New York City Human Rights Law’s sexual harassment protections to all workers, even those at employers with fewer than five employees, which were previously exempt. Additionally, employees can now report sexual harassment up to three years after the incident occurs, as opposed to the previous one-year statute of limitations.
Mandatory Anti-Harassment Training
Effective April 1, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees are now required to provide annual training for all employees working in New York City. The training must be interactive and must address specific topics, including what constitutes sexual harassment, how to navigate the complaint process, bystander intervention training, and manager responsibilities.
An employee who has received sexual harassment training at one employer within the required training cycle need not receive additional sexual harassment training at another employer until the next cycle. An employer who is subject to training requirements in multiple jurisdictions may provide proof of compliance with the New York City law, as long as the employer’s sexual harassment training is provided annually and contains the mandated training areas discussed under the law.
Posting and Distributing Sexual Harassment Policies
Effective September 6, 2018, all employers, regardless of size, will be required to display on their premises a poster created by the New York City Commission on Human Rights that explains the City’s sexual harassment policies and complaint filing process. Employers also must provide an information sheet on sexual harassment to each employee at the time of hire.