2019 NYS Labor Law Changes for Small Business Owners

As a business owner in New York State, there have been some recent changes to requirements and Labor Laws with which we must comply.

No Sexual HarassmentAs of October 09, 2019, all employers in NYS are required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. Each employer that does not currently have a sexual harassment prevention policy in place is encouraged to adopt the NYS model policy. If an employer does have a prevention policy in force, they must ensure that their policy meets the minimum standards listed below:

  • The policy must prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights.
  • The policy must provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
  • The policy must 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.
  • The policy must include a complaint form.
  • The policy must include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensure due process for all parties.
  • The policy must inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially.
  • The policy must 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.
  • The policy must 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.

If you do not currently have a policy in place, we strongly encourage you to adopt the model policy provided by NYS. Once adopting a policy, employers must provide each employee with a copy of its policy in writing. With the employee’s receipt of the sexual harassment prevention policy, we encourage employers to have each employee acknowledge receipt of the policy in writing and post a copy where it is easily accessible by all employees.

In addition to adopting a sexual harassment prevention policy, employers must provide their employees with sexual harassment prevention training.  Like the model policy provided by NYS, they have also provided a model training program that meets the state guidelines.

Please visit the following website for model policies, training, complaint forms, and more information.

https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers

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