The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has released what it calls “a strengthened, nation-leading sexual harassment prevention model policy.”
A press release stated, “The updated policy, drafted in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYS DHR), adds new language to include remote workers, defines different gender identities and expands on gender discrimination, and provides examples of sexual harassment and retaliation across a broader spectrum of careers. It also includes bystander intervention methods to empower workers to intervene in instances where they witness harassment in their workspace. This model policy was written so New Yorkers can better understand their rights at the workplace. The public now has 30 days to provide comment on the policy.”
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “I thank the many New Yorkers who participated in this process. Your feedback is making New York state stronger and safer for everyone at the workplace. Once again, New York sets the bar nationally for how we protect our workforce. I thank Gov. Hochul for continuing to deliver for workers statewide.”
The press release said, “Engaging with workers, employers and advocates was a top priority during the revision process. NYSDOL held an in-person public hearing and collected feedback online from workers, employers and other stakeholders across New York state on the state's original sexual harassment prevention model policy. The input was instrumental in crafting this nation-leading policy that helps ensure all workspaces across New York state are free of sexual harassment.”
NYSDOL, in consultation with NYS DHR, is currently revising training videos and online resources to help employees and employers identify sexual harassment and better understand their rights. NYSDOL will also launch a public education campaign to inform New Yorkers statewide about the changes.
New York State Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria L. Imperial said, “This updated policy embodies the values of our state by prioritizing the safety and dignity of our workforce. It is also an important step in showing that our state’s government is responsive to the needs and feedback of its workers. Gov. Hochul and New York state are committed to eliminating sex discrimination from workplace cultures statewide. It was an honor to work collaboratively on this updated policy.”
Finally, the press release said, “The original sexual harassment prevention model policy was created in 2018 as part of New York state’s commitment to establishing safer and more equitable workplaces by requiring all employers, regardless of size, to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide annual training to employees. The legislation included the provision that the sexual harassment prevention model policy be reviewed and revised every four years. Workplaces are constantly changing, and the state is committed to strengthening its model policy to reflect the evolution of the world of work.”
For more information on the current sexual harassment prevention model policy, go to Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, file a report online or call NYS DHR’s new toll-free sexual harassment hotline at 1-800-HARASS-3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.