New Regulations Effective NOW - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

 

Earlier this year, both the State of New York and the City of New York passed sexual harassment prevention legislation that ultimately affects employers in the State of New York. This includes ALL private dental offices, regardless of the number of employees that you have.

 

To keep this short, these are the things you, as the employer, must do:

  1. Develop and distribute a written sexual harassment policy to all employees. A model policy (developed by the NY State Dept. of Labor) is available by downloading the file in the following link: Sexual Harassment Policy for All Employers in New York State. You can customize this policy so that it is specific to your practice simply by modifying those areas in yellow highlight. Be sure to print it and hand it out to every employee you have. You should have them sign an acknowledgement that they have in fact received the policy. Retain the signed acknowledgement in your employee files. THIS SHOULD BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

     

  2. Distribute a copy of the New York City Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet to all employees. A copy of the fact sheet is available by clicking on this link: Sexual Harrassment Act Factsheet. There is no need to modify this fact sheet. Be sure to print it as is and hand it out to every employee you have. You should have them sign an acknowledgement that they have in fact received the fact sheet. Retain the signed acknowledgement in your employee files. THIS SHOULD BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

     

  3. Post a copy of the New York City Sexual Harassment Poster in a conspicuous area where employees congregate. The poster must be at least 8.5 by 14 inches in size, using at least 12-point font, and posted in both English and Spanish. A copy of the poster in English is available by clicking on this link: English Poster. A copy of the Spanish poster is available at this link: Spanish Poster. THIS SHOULD BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

     

  4. Lastly, employers in New York State have until October 9, 2019 to provide sexual harassment training to all their employees. However, if you are a NY City employer with 15 or more employees, you will be required to conduct training effective April 1, 2019 and then on an annual basis thereafter. Nonetheless, NY State law trumps NY City law in this regard, so ALL NYC employers will be required to provide training to their employees, regardless of the number of employees.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights will develop and share an online training guide to be available on its website (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/sexual-harassment-campaign.page) that will satisfy this requirement in the coming months. (We will advise you when that becomes available.) Employers may also choose to provide their own annual anti-sexual harassment training for employees provided that it includes the following elements:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;

  • A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;

  • A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;

  • Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;

  • The complaint process available through the Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information;

  • The prohibition of retaliation including examples;

  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and

  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints

Many of your questions regarding sexual harassment regulations can be answered by visiting the NY State Department of labor website at https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/combating-sexual-harassment-frequently-asked-questions. We STRONGLY suggest that you read this information and become familiar with all aspects of it. As the employer, it is YOU who are responsible for the workplace environment and compliance with all related workplace laws.