Training meeting

New York Sexual Harassment Training

New York has updated its harassment laws. What constitutes harassment in the state simplistically stated is behavior intended to bring another person severe annoyance, threats, or a sense of alarm.

The severity of the behavior will determine whether it will bring a “violation offense, potentially a misdemeanor, or quite possibly a felony.”

In order to assess the severity of harassment, the authorities on the scene will “examine” the harasser’s actions and the one placing the allegations. All claims of harassment are to be taken seriously.

A claimant has the opportunity to request protective orders against anyone committing a “violation-level” offense to avoid further contact. Learn details about New York’s workplace harassment laws at

Sexual Harassment In The Work Environment

All staff members on the work front are required to receive sexual harassment training revealing what constitutes this form of harassment and how to prevent the behavior.

The definition of sexual harassment is essentially unwelcome advances or requests for favors of a sexual nature per the “US Equal Opportunity Commission.” It’s further stated that individuals falsely reporting incidents will be found to be in violation of harassment laws, a “third-degree crime.”

In 2019, a bill passed in New York mandating that “non-governmental” companies employing “15 +” staff to engage in yearly training of an interactive nature for sexual harassment that must include every employee and business leader at every level.

These sessions need to meet New York sexual harassment training interactivity guidelines, so if the training is “web-based,” there has to be a component of an interactive nature like a period of question and answer at the end of each segment to ensure comprehension.

Because of how the New York City Act is written, business leaders under this law must offer proof of their training that comprises signatures from the entire staff showing all employees participated. These records need to be kept in the company files for three years.

With “in-person interactivity” training sessions, there needs to be someone presenting the program who will pose questions to the attendees. The staff will be allowed to inquire with their questions and concerns as the sessions proceed.

The suggestion is to encourage staff feedback to get ideas on ways to make improvements as the training grows.

What Should Sexual Harassment Training Consist of

“New York City’s Human Rights Law” designates what constitutes sexual harassment. This precise definition is the one that leaders need to employ when training employees on sexual harassment guidelines.

Not to mention the fact that the behavior is deemed an unlawful form of discrimination under the state and federal law.

Employers need to use examples that employees can relate to that have the potential for happening in their work environment to help carry the message along with how to handle yourself in the position as a bystander or “bystander intervention.”

That is when someone witnesses an incident and is encouraged to make a report with their business leader. The objective behind the sexual harassment training is to help staff and leaders identify harassment, recognize it is safe to speak out and learn to who they can report the issue.

It will be taught that retaliation for making claims of harassment or witness reports, including the termination of a position, is against the law. Retaliation can further include a demotion, transferring to a new post, adding to the workload, and on.

These behaviors or suspicion of retaliation should be reported to those in leadership roles.

group of people in training

Posters and Informatives Throughout the Year

Aside from the annual training, staff should be updated and have regular reminders of sexual harassment and how to conduct themself properly while on the job.

Only engaging employees once every year can be like an obligation, and then forget it when it’s over. In contrast, continuous conversations on what is a problem in the workplace need to happen routinely.

Under New York’s Human Rights Act, posters for anti-sexual harassment need to be placed in heavily trafficked areas throughout the company where employees have the opportunity to strike up conversations on the topic.

These can be in the cafeteria, the break rooms, or even conference areas. The recommendation is that they be issued in multiple languages to accommodate a diverse population.

Plus, all new talent entering companies need to have sexual harassment booklets attached to their onboarding documentation. Click here for a “pocket guide” on harassment for the working woman.

Final Thought

Harassment should be a problem that’s coming under control as more states like New York develop laws in an effort to stop behaviors like sexual harassment and other discriminations. It might be having an effect, making subtle changes, and that needs to happen.

You can’t take a problem that started with such magnitude, and suddenly, it’s automatically eliminated. Would that be the case, so many terrible things would be resolved almost instantly. Baby steps are better than none, and each company is taking theirs.