In 2018, both New York State and New York City have enacted the strictest harassment training laws in the Nation as a clear outgrowth of the #MeToo movement that swept the country following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. All Employers must begin compliance with the New York State Law commencing on October 9, 2018, and the New York City Law on April 1, 2019.

I. 2018 New York State Budget Sexual Harassment Training Provisions Contained within Part KK of S7507-C

On April 12, 2018 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law several bills that were included in the 2018-2019 New York State budget. The bills address workplace sexual harassment. Part KK of S7507-C 0g the new law requires New York employers to adopt and distribute a sexual harassment policy and training program.

The new requirements take effect October 9, 2018.

A. Content Requirements of the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy:


More specifically, the new law requires employers adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy which:

  1. prohibits sexual harassment and provides examples of prohibited conduct;
  2. includes information concerning federal and state sexual harassment laws and mentions there may be applicable local laws;
  3. includes a standard complaint form;
  4. includes a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints including due process for all parties;
  5. informs employees of their rights of redress and available forums for adjudicating claims administratively and judicially;
  6. clearly states sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory management who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
  7. clearly states retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceedings is unlawful.

This sexual harassment policy must then be provided to all of your employees in writing. It would be advisable to include this policy in your orientation package. You should should informally and formally routinely remind employees of this policy.

You can read the New York State’s sexual harassment laws in their entirety (Part KK of S7507-C).

The Model Sexual Harassment Complaint Form can be found by clicking here:

B. Training Requirements of the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy:

The New York State Law also mandates that employers provide interactive training to their employees that includes the following:

1)  an explanation of sexual harassment;

2)  examples of sexual harassment;

3)  information concerning the federal and state laws concerning sexualharassment and remedies available to victims; and

4)  information concerning employees’ rights of redress and forums for complaints.

Although there is no record keeping requirement under the law, I strongly advise your company to formally track, in a signed form, your employees’ attendance at the training. This type of evidence is helpful in defending against potential allegations of sexual harassment, and will serve to mitigate your risk against frivilous lawsuits.

C. Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Program

The law also requires the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to develop a model policy and training program for employers.

II. The Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act

The Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act was signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio on May 9, 2018 and expands the reach of the New York City Human Rights Law in cases involving gender-based harassment.


A. The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Law Amends New York City Human Rights Law by:

1)  applying provisions related to gender-based discrimination to ALL employers, regardless of the number of employees;

2)  increasing the statute of limitations from one-year to three-years for filing a claim of gender-based discrimination with the NYC Commission on Human Rights;

3)  mandating employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti- sexual harassment training to all employees, including managers and supervisors.

4)  for new employees who work more than 80 hours in a year, such training much be provided within 90 days of their initial hire. This requirement is effective April 1, 2019.B. Training Requirements of the New York City Act:

The New York City Stop Sexual Harassment Act requires that every employer’s sexual harassment training must:

1)  provide an explanation and example of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under NYC law;

2)  state sexual harassment is unlawful under both Federal and New York State laws;

3)  provide a detailed description of what sexual harassment is;

4)  identify the employer’s internal complaint process;

5)  state the complaint process that is available through the NYC Commissionon Human Rights, the NYS Division of Human Rights and the EEOC, including all relevant contact information;

6)  explain the prohibition against retaliation against an employee by an employer;

7)  provide information concerning bystander intervention (i.e., such as suggestions about how to confront a harasser); and

8)  identify the specific responsibilities that supervisors and managerial employees have in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation.

9)  keep employee’s training acknowledgment forms for three years.

The New York City training requirements begin on April 1, 2019. The training must be provided annually and, in the case of a new employee hire, within 90 days thereof.

Starting September 6, 2018, all New York City employers are required to post a sexual harassment poster and distribute a sexual harassment fact sheet to all new employees.

Additionally, under the New York City Law, employers are required to keep training acknowledgment forms for 3 years.

You can find the NYC Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act here:

The Stop Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet can be found here in English:


The two tables below detail the obligations and the differences between the New York State and New York City laws regarding:

  1. Training Requirements (Table 1)
  2. Training Content (Table 2)

Table 1
Sexual Harassment Training Obligations in New York State

New York State

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New York City

Effective Date and Deadline

Effective October 9, 2018. Deadline of January 1, 2019, to have all employees trained.

Effective April 1, 2019. Deadline of April 1, 2020, to have all employees trained.

Employers and Employees Covered

All employers, regardless of size, must train all employees.
According to draft guidance issued by New York State, “all employees” includes all part-time employees, with no minimum hours requirement. Indeed, according to the State’s guidance, even if an employee just works for one day, or if the employee is based out of state but works for just one day in New York, that employee is covered by the training requirement.

Employers with 15 or more employees must train all employees, who work 90 or more hours per calendar year, on a full or part-time basis in New York City.

Contractors Covered

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Beginning on January 1, 2019, all contractors who bid on NY State contracts must certify under penalty of perjury that they have provided annual sexual harassment training to all employees, even those outside of the state.

While the law doesn’t explicitly require NYC contractors to provide sexual harassment training, they will be required to describe their practices, policies, and procedures “relating to preventing and addressing sexual harassment” as part of existing reporting requirements.

How Often

Must provide training annually. Employers can track completion based on the calendar year, the anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.

Must provide training annually.

New Employees

The NY State draft guidance says that new employees must be trained within 30 days of their start date.

New employees who work 80 or more hours per year, on a full or part-time basis, in NYC must be trained after 90 days of hire, unless the employee received training within the same annual cycle from a prior employer.


None specifically required.

Employers shall keep a record of all training, including a signed employee acknowledgment, which may be electronic. Employers shall maintain such records for at least three years and such records must be made available for commission inspection upon request.


The training must be “interactive.” NY State’s draft guidance says that “interactive” means that the training must require some form of employee participation. According to the State’s model training document, the training should include as many of the following elements as possible:

  • Include a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions
  • Be web-based with questions asked of employees as part of the program
  • Accommodate questions asked by employees, and/or
  • Require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented

The training must be “interactive,” which is defined as “participatory.” Online training may suffice if it is interactive.

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Table 2
Harassment Training Content Requirements in New York State and NYC

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New York State


New York City

Sexual Harassment Definition and Examples

An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NY DOL. It also must include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.

A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples.

Applicable Laws

Information containing the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.

An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law. A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law.

Reporting, External Forums of Adjudication, and Rights of Redress

Information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.

The training must inform employees of the internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims. It also must describe the complaint process available through the NYC Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information.


Training on retaliation is not specifically required by the state law, but the law also notes that anti-retaliation provisions must be included in the employer’s policy.

The prohibition of retaliation, pursuant to subdivision 7 of section 8-107, and examples of protected activity under the law (such as opposing discrimination, filing a complaint, testifying on behalf of someone complaining about discrimination, and assisting in an investigation).

Bystander Intervention

No requirement to address bystander intervention.

Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention.

Supervisors’ Duties

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Address conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.

The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.





It is important to keep in mind that this article sets forth the bare MINIMUM compliance measures required by your company or business under the new laws. THE VAN DE WATER LAW FIRM, P.C. can help you not only get into compliance with both laws, but more importantly, exceed the State and City mandates with comprehensive training and internal protocols that will protect your business for years to come. We at The Van De Water Law Firm, P.C. are happy to answer any questions you may have about your compliance obligations under the law, as well as all other employment and litigation matters affecting your business.