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Business Council of Westchester Seeks Changes in New Sexual Harassment Policy

The NYS Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights have released their draft sexual harassment policy, complaint form, and model sexual harassment training programs, which were mandated by statutory changes included in the state budget adopted in March.

These are available in draft form and can be found here.

The Business Council of New York has identified several areas of concern for employers and will be submitting comments and working with the Department and the Division to mitigate provisions they feel are unworkable or onerous.  They welcome any questions or comments as they continue their review and prepare our formal comments for DOL.

Employers are encouraged to provide comments on the proposed policies. Comments can be submitted on or before September 12, 2018. All comments will be reviewed and necessary revisions will be considered.

Among some of the issues with the policy are:

  • Unworkable timetable for training, including training of all employees by December 31, 2018, and training of all new employees within 30 days of hire.
  • Need to recognize that employers are likely to offer comprehensive harassment training, not just sexual harassment training as mandated by statute.
  • Need to reflect the importance of reporting incidents of sexual harassment by employees in order to not jeopardize outside legal remedies.
  • Need to focus on “severe” and/or “pervasive” behavior, which case law has established as part of a “continuum” of bad behavior from “inappropriate” to “illegal,” which is key in identifying behavior that is actionable.
  • An unworkable mandate that all investigations be completed within 30 days.

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