In our July 24, 2018 post, we reminded employers that mandatory harassment training was going to be required of all employers in New York. Since that post, the State has issued model training materials that can be found here.
Employers are obligated to provide annual “interactive” sexual harassment training for employees. New hires must also be given training.
Importantly for employers, they also recently clarified the deadlines for when training must be provided. Employees must receive training at least once per year beginning on October 9, 2018. This means that employers must insure that all employees receive training between October 9, 2018 and October 8, 2019. Thereafter, training should be on an annual basis. The State backed off initial guidance that said that new hires must be trained within 30 days of hire. Instead, they simply encourage employers to provide training as soon as possible.
It is still a best practice to provide training as part of an onboarding process for new hires.
There also is some clarification as to what is meant by “interactive training.” According to the State’s website, interactive training can include any of the following:
- If the training is web-based, it has questions at the end of a section and the employee must select the right answer;
- If the training is web-based, the employees have an option to submit a question online and receive an answer immediately or in a timely manner;
- In an in-person or live training, the presenter asks the employees questions or gives them time throughout the presentation to ask questions;
- Web-based or in-person trainings that provide a Feedback Survey for employees to turn in after they have completed the training
The State cautions that “[a]n individual watching a training video or reading a document only, with no feedback mechanism or interaction, would NOT be considered interactive.”
In general, in person training is often the most effective training as employees are more engaged and can learn from questions posed by their fellow employees. However, it is not always practical to do in person training. In those cases, we do recommend a mix of in person and web-based training.
Although employers do not have to immediately provide training for their work forces, time has a way of getting away from all of us. Arrangements should be made sooner rather than later to get training scheduled.