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NYC legislation strengthens sexual harassment protections

New York City continues to take firm, ground-breaking steps toward battling sexual harassment with a series of bills recently passed by its city council. Among the new guidelines addressed include requiring employers to provide its workers with annual training toward preventing sexual harassment.

Known as the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, the package of bills still needs the approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Once it receives the mayor’s signature, the bills will take effect in April 2019. The act significantly expands the obligations that New York City employers must do to prevent sexual harassment.

The bill states that companies with 15 or more workers must provide sexual harassment prevention training. Not only are employees required to complete the training, but so are managers and supervisors. The city’s commission on human rights has been tapped to develop an online interactive program for the training.

Other key points within the NYC legislation

Here are some other key facts surrounding the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act:

  • In all, there were 11 bills passed to strengthen workplace sexual harassment protections.
  • One bill provides protections to any employee regardless of the size of the company.
  • A bill would extend the statute of limitations for filing harassment claims to three years. Currently, it’s one year.
  • Contractors also will get attention and be required to provide their policies on sexual harassment prevention when applying for business in the city.

Another indirect result of the act will be that employers must thoroughly reexamine their current policies on harassment in order to comply with the new legislation and current standards.

This is why it is so important for employers to continue to train supervisors in addressing sexual harassment incidents; avoid making common mistakes; promptly investigate such incidents; and be consistent when enforcing rules.

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