Sexual harassment involves unwelcome conduct that is used as the basis for employment decisions or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. All New York employers must comply with New York’s anti-sexual harassment law.
The following information explains the law and its requirements in detail:
What is Sexual Harassment?
Harassment is generally illegal when unwelcome conduct is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.
What Are the Types of Sexual Harassment?
• Hostile environment: Generally words, signs, or violence of a sexual nature directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex.
• Quid pro quo: A person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment, or any other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
When Are Employers Liable for Sexual Harassment?
• When it is conducted by an owner or high-level manager.
• When it is conducted by a lower-level manager or a supervisor, if that supervisor has sufficient control over the victim’s working conditions.
• When it knew or should have known about an employee’s harassment and was negligent about preventing or stopping it. Notably, any manager’s knowledge will be imputed to the employer.
• When it, its agents, or its supervisors knew or should have known of the sexual harassment of non-employees in its workplace.
Must Employers Adopt Policies or Provide Notice to Employees?
Yes. New York City (NYC) employers must post a poster in employee break rooms or other common areas and distribute an information sheet to employees at the time of hire. Click here to download the required notices.
In addition, effective October 9, 2018, all New York employers must adopt either a model sexual harassment prevention policy issued by the state or one that equals or exceeds the standards of the state policy, and provide it to employees in writing.
Must Employers Provide Sexual Harassment Training?
Yes. Effective October 9, 2018, New York employers must provide training annually to all employees using either a model training program to be issued by the state or one that equals or exceeds the state program.
Additionally, starting April 1, 2019, NYC employers with 15 or more employees must:
• Annually conduct training for all employees that slightly differs from the state-required training; and
• Keep a record of all trainings for at least 3 years.
Notably, an employer with training requirements in multiple jurisdictions complies with NYC law if the NYC requirements are fulfilled in annual employee training.
Additional requirements and exceptions to the information above may apply. For more information, please contact the New York State Division of Human Rights at 888-392-3644 or the New York City Commission on Human Rights at 718-722-3131.
Please Note: The state laws summaries featured on this site are for general informational purposes only. In addition to state law, certain municipalities may enact legislation that imposes different requirements. State and local laws change frequently and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information featured in the State Laws section. For more detailed information regarding state or local laws, please contact your state labor department or the appropriate local government agency.