Note: These requirements are mandatory under the New York City Human Rights Law. Different requirements may exist under New York State Law. For more information on those requirements, please consult www.labor.ny.gov.
All employees have protections against sexual harassment, regardless of the size of their employer.
The Stop Sexual Harassment Act in NYC requires that employers provide an annual training on the protections against gender-based harassment, distribute a fact sheet, and post a notice on employees protections against gender-based harassment.
1. Which employers are required to train their employees?
Employers who had 15 or more employees at any given point in the previous calendar year must provide a sexual harassment training to their staff.
2. What is the deadline to train my employees?
As of April 1, 2019, employers are required to train every employee each calendar year. By December 31, 2019, employers must have trained all of their employees.
3. Are employers required to train short-term employees, part-time employees, or interns?
Yes, if a short-term employee, part-time employee, or intern worked:
then the individual must be trained.
If a person worked less than 90 days or less than 80 hours in a calendar year, they do not need to be trained.
4. Are employers required to train independent contractors?
No, employers are not required to train independent contractors. However, it is strongly advised that if independent contractors are working on-site at an employer’s workplace, are interacting with the employer’s staff, and are anticipated to work more than 80 hours in a calendar year AND for at least 90 days, they should be trained.
5. Do independent contractors count as “employees” for the purposes of calculating the 15-employee minimum?
Yes. Independent contractors – regardless of the number of days or hours they work – are considered employees for the purposes of determining whether an employer is obligated to provide the annual sexual harassment training.
6. How are employees counted towards the 15-employee minimum?
If an employer has 15 or more employees at any time during the current or prior calendar year, they must train their staff. The number of employees is counted concurrently, not consecutively. Employees not based in New York City also count towards the 15 employee threshold. For example, an employer with 6 employees based in New York City and 9 employees based elsewhere meets the 15 employee minimum.
7. If my employee has been trained elsewhere, do I need to provide additional training?
If an employee was trained at a different employer during the calendar year, they do not need to be retrained.
However, employers must independently retain their own records to show that all employees met the training requirement. Employers may ask employees to provide documentation that they completed the training elsewhere. If the employee is unable to provide documentation, employers should have the employee retrained.
It is the employer that is responsible for demonstrating all employees completed the training annually.
8. How does the training requirement apply to employees and employers based outside of New York City?
9. Does the Commission have a training that complies with the City’s training requirement?
Yes. Click here.
The Commission developed an online training that meets the training requirement. The training is free and available to the public. At the end of the training, the user will receive a certificate that employers can retain as proof of training completion.
New York State has separate training requirements. The Commission’s training also meets the State’s requirements.
Employers may also choose to create and provide their own annual anti-sexual harassment training for employees. All trainings must include the required elements outlined in NYC Local Law 96 (2018).10. Will the Commission certify trainings by third parties?
No. Training requirements are outlined in NYC Local Law 96 (2018). So long as it meets the requirements of NYC Local Law 96 (2018), employers may develop their own training or hire an outside party to provide the training.
11. What material must be covered in the training?
NYC Local Law 96 (2018) requires that the training include, at a minimum, the below elements:
1. An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
2. A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
3. A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
4. Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
5. A description of 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;
The prohibition of retaliation, pursuant to subdivision 7 of section 8-107, and examples thereof;
6. Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
7. 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.
New York State has separate training requirements. The Commission’s training meets the State’s requirements.
12. What documentation is an employer required to maintain regarding the training?
NYC Local Law 96 (2018) requires that employers keep a record of all trainings for at least three years. Such records must be made available for Commission inspection upon request. This record may be a certificate or a signed employee acknowledgement. The records may be paper or electronic.
13. Are employees who have received training in 2019 prior to April 1 required to receive additional training?
No. Employees who have received an anti-sexual harassment training – that satisfies the requirements of NYC Local Law 96 (2018) – at any point in 2019 are not required to receive training until the next annual training cycle.
14. How often should employers train employees?
Employers must provide their employees with an anti-sexual harassment training at least once per calendar year. Employers can direct employees to the Commission’s free online training. For individual employees, fulfilling the annual training requirement can be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.
15. How soon must new employees be trained?
Employers should provide training to new staff as soon as possible after hire. Upon hire, employers are liable for sexual harassment by new employees.
Employers are required to train employees who will work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and will work for at least 90 days. Employees may use the Commission’s free online training.
16. May I use a third-party vendor to provide training? How do I ensure it meets the standards?
Employers may use a third-party vendor or organization, or have existing staff deliver the training. Employers should review any third-party training to ensure it meets or exceeds the minimum standards required under NYC Local Law 96 (2018).
17. I have employees with disabilities or with limited English proficiency. Does the training have to be accessible?
Yes. Employers must provide the training in a way that is accessible to its staff. This means that if you have employees with disabilities or who speak a language other than English, they must be trained a way in a manner that is accessible to them.
18. Does the Commission’s training meet the training requirements of the New York State law?
Yes. The Commission’s online training meets both the New York City and New York State training requirements. Therefore, employers who use the Commission’s online training will meet both the City and State training requirements and will not need to provide their staff with two different anti-sexual harassment trainings each year.
19. How does the training document completion?
The Commission’s training will provide a certificate of completion at the end of the training. Before the certificate page, an employee has the opportunity to enter their name. The certificate of completion is individualized to the employee, which means multiple employers can record the employee’s completion with this certificate.
If employers have multiple employees take the training at once, they must keep an independent record of who has taken the training and when.
Important: The Commission is not retaining any records of who completes the training. If a certificate is lost, the Commission cannot retrieve a past certificate. If an employee misspells their name or generates a certificate without a name, the certificate will reflect that.
20. Which devices support the Commission’s training?
Smartphones, desktop computers, laptops, and tablets support the training. The training has audio. Employers should provide a method to employees to hear the training.
If the employee takes the training on their personal phone, it is highly recommended that the employee takes the training over a wireless connection and not cellular data.
Important: It is the employer’s responsibility to provide training to their employees. Employers cannot require employees to pay for the data to take the training.
21. What technology does the training require?
The training includes audio and videos. The employer is required to provide the employee with the option to watch the videos and hear the audio so that the training is interactive and accessible. This training requires Chrome 67 (or later), Firefox 66.0.4 (or later), or Safari 11.1.1 (or later).
22. Is the Commission’s training accessible for people with disabilities?
Yes. The training is accessible for people who are blind, with low vision, deaf, with low hearing, and who have limited mobility. There are both closed captions and audio descriptions. There is alt text for all images and icons. This training requires Chrome 67 (or later), Firefox 66.0.4 (or later), or Safari 11.1.1 (or later).
23. Is the Commission’s training available in other languages?
Yes. As of April 1, the Commission’s training is available in English, with ten other limited English proficiency languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Russian, Polish, Urdu, Arabic) to be available in the coming months.
The limited English proficiency versions of the training have the same level of interactivity and accessibility as the English version.
24. Can an employer train its employees in a group using the Commission’s training?
Yes. Employers can have multiple staff take the training together on one device (for example, on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet) or project it for all staff to take at once. Employers must keep records of who completes the training and when they complete it. For example, employers could create a sign in sheet that employees sign and date.
Important: The Commission’s training will provide one and only one certificate of completion at the end of the training. If employers have multiple employees take the training at once, they must keep an independent record of who has taken the training and when.
25. Can an employer require its employees take the training outside of work?
If an employer requires their employees to take the training outside of their regular hours – for example, on their personal phones or laptops before the start of a shift – they must be paid for their time.
26. What if my employer never informs employees about the training or never requires that employees take it?
Failure to provide an annual anti-sexual harassment training is a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. Employees can file a complaint by calling 311 or the Commission’s Infoline at (718) 722-3131. Employees can report anonymously about their employer’s failure to provide a training by calling the Commission's Infoline or by completing an online inquiry form.
27. If I have multiple jobs, do I have to take the training at every place of employment?
Employees do not need to take the training at each workplace where they work over the course of a year. Employers can request that employees provide proof of completion of an anti-sexual harassment training at another employer. Employees should request the certificate from the employer who provided the training to give to the other employer.
Important: Employees are not responsible for confirming that their previous training complies with the training requirements. If there is a question of compliance, employers can require the employee to be trained again.
28. How do I report that my employer is not in compliance with the Stop Sexual Harassment Act?
If you think that your employer is not in compliance with the requirements of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, please contact the Commission by calling the Commission’s Infoline at (718) 722-3131 or by filling out an online inquiry form.
Employers are required to:
1. Provide anti-sexual harassment training to their employees every year.
2. Post a notice of employee’s rights.
3. Distribute a fact sheet explaining employee’s rights.
29. I am a person with a disability. Is the Commission’s training accessible?
Yes. The training is accessible for people who are blind, with low vision, deaf, with low hearing, and have limited mobility. There are both closed captions and audio descriptions. There is alt-text for all images and icons.
30. Where should employers post the required notice?
Notices should be posted in conspicuous locations accessible to all employees such as break rooms and other common areas. For employers with multiple worksites, the notice must be posted at all sites.
Notices may be posted virtually on an electronic bulletin board easily accessible to all employees if a convenient physical location is not available or if electronic posting is the most effective method of reaching employees. For employers with remote workers, you may provide the notice via email.
31. Does the notice have to be posted in both English and Spanish?
Yes. Employers must post the required notice in both English and Spanish. The Commission will also make the notice available in nine additional languages for employers’ use. However, the notice must be posted in English and Spanish regardless of whether the employer chooses to use the notice in additional languages.
32. Does the notice have to be posted in color?
No. You may post the required English and Spanish notices in black and white.
33. Who must receive the required fact sheet?
At the time of hire, all new employees must receive the fact sheet. This can be on or about the employee’s first few days of work, but no later than the end of the employee’s first week of work.
34. How should employers distribute the required fact sheet?
You may include the fact sheet in an employee handbook or with any onboarding materials for new employees. Employers can distribute it by any print or electronic means that they ordinarily use to communicate with employees.
35. Does the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act change the NYC Human Rights Law’s legal standard for gender-based harassment?
No. The legal standard for gender-based harassment remains the same. You can learn more about the legal standard of gender-based harassment under the NYC Human Rights Law here or through the free online anti-sexual harassment training.