Sexual Harassment – Laws

We are nearing the end of year 2020. It’s been a difficult and testing year for all businesses. The main focus this pandemic has been on keeping businesses afloat and sustaining employee livelihoods However, despite the pandemic, organizations cannot ignore state-specific requirements such as mandatory sexual harassment trainings; failing which business may be subject to huge fines and litigation threatening the very existence of the business. Currently, six states including Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, California, New York and New York City require mandatory harassment training.

For many organizations, this new state law requires revamping of company policies, regulations and training to ensure compliance. This also ensures increasing awareness of harassment and empowering employees with the information and tools required to effectively address and prevent workplace misconduct.

California

The state of California mandates training in sexual harassment for all organizations comprising of five or more employees by January 1, 2021.  In addition, the new law specifies content that must be included in the training. 

Newly hired and newly promoted employees must be provided with training within six months of hire or promotion. Temporary employees or those employed for less than six months are required to be trained within 30 days or within 100 working hours, whichever occurs first. Supervisors must receive two hours of training and non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of mandatory training. Online or a web based interactive training is permissible by law.

Training should be provided once in every two years and training documentation of all trained individuals must be maintained for a minimum of two years. 

For more information visit: Bill Text – AB-1825 Sexual harassment: training and education.

 

Illinois

The workplace Transparency Act came into effect on January 1, 2020. All employers in Illinois must provide sexual harassment training to all employees regardless of the size of the organization.

Illinois mandates that every restaurant and bar in Illinois must have sexual harassment prevention training and the policies should be tailored to the restaurant and bar industry.

The training provided must meet or exceed the standards of training model of the Illinois Department of Human Rights. 

For more information visit: State of Illinois Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program – Training

 

Connecticut

Connecticut’s new law, known as the Time’s Up Act, came into effect on October 1,2020. The law requires all employers, with three or more workers, be provided with two hours of mandatory prevention of sexual harassment training and not just the supervisors. Previously the law required employees to be trained by October 1,2020, but the deadline has been extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information visit: Sexual Harassment Prevention Resources (ct.gov)

 

New York

Since October 2019, all New York employers need to provide prevention of sexual harassment to all employees and supervisors – including part-time and temporary employees. Another significant change this year is that employees are no longer required to prove that alleged sexual harassment was “severe or pervasive” in order to hold perpetrators and employers accountable. 

The law in New York requires that employees, supervisors and non-supervisors, be trained within six months of hire or promotion and annually thereafter. All employers must receive training, regardless of immigration status, including part-time, temporary and seasonal workers.

Training should be provided in the language spoken by the employees. Online or web-based training that is interactive is permissible by law. Employers are encouraged (not mandatory) to keep a copy of training records and a signed acknowledgment that all the employees have read the organization’s sexual harassment prevention policy.

For more information visit: Employers | The State of New York (ny.gov)

 

New York City

New York state’s anti- harassment laws apply to all New York employers, however, employers of New York City with 15 or more employees have additional requirements under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. 

Under this act, organizations in NYC are required to train all their new employees as soon as possible and all employees required to be trained annually. Part-time workers and independent contractors, who are employed to work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and work at least 90 days should be provided with training.

Employers are required to maintain training records for a minimum of three years.

For more information visit:  sexual-harassment-training (nyc.gov)

Delaware

 It is mandatory for employers with 50 or more employees to provide harassment prevention training and education to all their employees. All full-time employees, part-time employees, interns, apprentices, seasonal and temporary employees must be trained under the new law that came into effect on January 1,2019. Further, even if an individual is not based in Delaware but spends any amount of  time working in Delaware, must be trained. New employees need not be trained until they have been with the organization for at least six months and must be trained within one year of employment with the organization.

The training provided must be interactive and should be designed to educate employees on prevention on sexual harassment and compliant processes available. Supervisors must be provided with additional training with respect to their responsibilities pertaining to preventing sexual harassment and retaliation and must be trained every two years thereafter.
Regardless of the size of the organization, all employers must distribute the Department of Labor’s Sexual Harassment Notice to each new employee.   

For more information visit: New Sexual Harassment Law Extends Protections – State of Delaware News
   


Maine

Maine requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide training to all employees within one year of hire. Supervisors and managers must be provided with additional training on their specific responsibilities to address sexual harassment complaints within one year of hire or promotion.  Employers must maintain training records of all trained employees for at least three years and records must be made available for inspection upon request by the Maine Department of Labor. Organizations that fail to comply with the training requirements may be penalized with a fine. 

For more information visit: SexualHarrassmentEducationandTraining.pdf (maine.gov)

 

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