• The New York City Commission on Human Rights has Released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as Guidance on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.”
  • November 14, 2018 | Authors: Brian R. DeShannon; Richard I. Greenberg; Daniel J. Jacobs; Lori D. Bauer
  • Law Firm: Jackson Lewis P.C. - New York Office
  • The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as guidance on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.”

    New York City employers with at least 15 employees are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees starting April 1, 2019. Posting and notice requirements went into effect September 6, 2018.

    For more on the city’s anti-sexual harassment law, see our articles:

    • Reminder: New York City Employers Must Distribute Fact Sheet, Post Notice on Sexual Harassment Law by Sept. 6
    • New York City Commission on Human Rights Issues Mandatory Sexual Harassment Notice and Fact Sheet
    • New York City Enacts Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation that Includes Training Requirement
    • New York City Council Passes Legislative Package Aimed at Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
    • New York City Legislation Would Mandate Sexual Harassment Training, Expand Employer Coverage under Human Rights Law

    The following are highlights from the FAQs.

    Employer Coverage

    In order to determine whether an employer has at least 15 employees, the employer must look back at the number of employees it employed at any point within the prior calendar year. If the employer determines it has or had at least 15 employees at any point during that time, it will be subject to the annual sexual harassment training requirements. The guidance does not specify if this count is limited to New York City employees.

    Significantly, independent contractors must be counted as “employees” in this calculation, regardless of the number of days or hours they work.

    Employee Coverage

    The FAQs confirm that all employees, including short-term or part-time employees, as well as independent contractors, are subject to the training requirements if they:

    1. Work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and
    2. Work for at least 90 days.

    Thus, if an employee has worked fewer than 90 days or 80 hours in a calendar year, they are not subject to the sexual harassment training requirements.

    Whether this calculation is based on time worked or length of employment in New York City is unclear from the guidance.

    Independent contractors who otherwise meet the above requirements need not be trained if they have already received the required sexual harassment training elsewhere.

    Frequency of Training

    Those subject to the training requirements must be trained every calendar year, as opposed to within one year of their last training.

    Agency Materials

    The Commission is developing materials, in partnership with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York State Department of Labor, that will comply with state and city training requirements. These should be made available to employers before April 1, 2019. However, employers may choose to develop their own training, as long as the training meets the minimum requirements of the law (Local Law 96). The FAQs restate these minimum requirements.

    For more information on the New York statewide anti-sexual harassment requirements, see our articles:

    • New York State Issues Draft Guidance on Required Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies and Training
    • New York Legislature Passes Significant Changes to Laws Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

    Recordkeeping, Notice Requirements

    Employers must keep a record of all trainings, including signed employee acknowledgements (which may be electronic), for at least three years.

    Employers must post the required notice made available by the Commission in both English and Spanish. The Commission also will make the notice available in nine additional languages. However, employers must post the English and Spanish versions regardless of whether versions in other languages also are posted. The posters should be located in breakrooms or other common areas accessible to all employees. Virtual postings, such as on electronic bulletin boards, are permitted only in lieu of physical postings if a convenient physical location is not available or if electronic posting is the most effective method of reaching employees.

    Finally, employers are required to distribute the fact sheet created by the Commission to new hires within the first week of work.