On April 11, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) finalized its new Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy. This is important because every employer in New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the NYSDOL’s model policy must ensure that their policy meets certain minimum requirements.
Specifically, the policy must:
- prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYSDOL in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights;
- provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
- include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
- include a complaint form;
- include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties;
- inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
- clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
- clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.
Employers must provide each employee with a copy of its policy in writing. Employers should provide employees with the policy in the language spoken by their employees.