Updates to New York’s Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

When the New York State anti-sexual harassment training and policy requirements went into effect in 2018, many companies adopted the state’s model sexual harassment prevention policy.

In October 2019, due to changes in the law, the state updated its model policy. However, the changes were not effectively communicated to employers.

The primary changes are:

  • The policy includes a reference to the new legal standard for establishing unlawful sexual harassment. Previously, harassing conduct had to be “sever or pervasive” to be unlawful. In October 2019, that standard changed and now harassing conduct that rises above what a reasonable person would consider “petty slights or trivial inconveniences” may be actionable.
  • The revised policy clarifies that effective August 12, 2020, the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment complaint with the NYS Division of Human Rights is extended from one year to three years.
  • A few changes to footnotes and corrections to an address are also in the revised policy.

The state’s model policy, and other valuable information, can be found on the state’s Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace website.  Please contact any member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Group should you have any questions or need assistance in updating your policy.

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