In New York City, all employers must establish a policy against sexual harassment in the workplace and conduct regular employee training programs to prevent sexual harassment. The New York State Department of Labor has a standardized sexual harassment prevention model policy and training requirements. However, because harassment can take many forms and progress as more avenues become available, state standards must also keep up with the times.
How does the state continue to prevent sexual harassment?
New York recently revised the sexual harassment prevention guidelines to incorporate more inclusivity and equality. One such update is that the harasser’s harmless or harmful intent is irrelevant. Instead, what matters is how their behavior affected the person they harassed. Here are other significant revisions:
- Sexual harassment no longer needs to be “severe or pervasive” to be illegal in the state.
- The new policy also covers sexual harassment of remote employees and the illegal use of virtual platforms and private direct messaging to create a hostile working environment.
- It comprises gender-based discrimination, highlighting gender diversity to include every person regardless of gender identity.
- There is also a new section on bystander intervention to advise employees on what to do if they witness sexual harassment in the workplace.
- It includes the newly launched confidential state hotline employees can call to report sexual harassment complaints.
People evolve and so should the laws that govern them. Otherwise, such guidelines become outdated and provide legal loopholes for the harassers instead of protection for the harassed.
New York is a progressive state
If you look at federal laws, they are not as exhaustive nor as stringent as New York’s laws. By updating and enhancing its policy model, the city that never sleeps can serve as a model to other states. Employees can rest well knowing the laws continue to fight for them against sexual harassment.