Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act: Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Providing an Anti-Sexual Harassment Training to Staff

While the training requirements under the Stop Sexual Harassment Act in NYC apply only to employers with 15 or more employees, protections against gender-based harassment extend to all employees regardless of the size of their employer.

When is the training required?

Starting April 1, 2019, employers are required to train their employees annually.

Who is required to provide the training to their employees?

All employers with 15 or more employees in the previous calendar year must provide a sexual harassment training to their staff.  To determine whether an employer has 15 or more employees, employers must consider the number of employees they have employed at any point within the prior calendar year.

Do employers have to train short-term employees, part-time employees, or independent contractors?

Employers are required to train employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and work for at least 90 days. If an employee has worked less than 90 days or less than 80 hours in a calendar year, they do not need to be trained.

An employer is required to train independent contractors who have performed work in the furtherance of the business for more than 90 days and more than 80 hours in a calendar year. Employers are not required to re-train independent contractors who have already received the mandated annual training elsewhere.

Do independent contractors count as “employees” for the purposes of calculating the 15-employee minimum that triggers an employer’s obligation to provide annual sexual harassment training?

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.

Does the Commission have a training that complies with the training requirement?

The Commission is in the process of developing an online training that will meet the training requirement, which should be available on the Commission’s website on or before April 1, 2019, the effective date of NYC Local Law 96 (2018). The training will be free and available to the public. Employers may also choose to create and provide their own annual anti-sexual harassment training for employees provided that it includes the required elements outlined in NYC Local Law 96 (2018). To learn more about other trainings provided by the Commission, please email trainings@cchr.nyc.gov.

Will the Commission certify trainings by third parties?

No. Training requirements are outlined in NYC Local Law 96 (2018). Employers may develop their own training or hire an outside party to provide the training so long as it meets the requirements of NYC Local Law 96 (2018).

What material must be covered in the training?

NYC Local Law 96 (2018) requires that the training include, at a minimum, the below elements:

•    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;
•    A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
•    Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
•    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;
•    Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
•    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.

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, including a signed employee acknowledgement for at least three years and such records must be made available for Commission inspection upon request. The signed acknowledgment may be electronic.

Are employees required to be trained every calendar year or one year from their last training?

Employees must be trained every calendar year.  

Will the mandated City training meet the training requirements of the New York State Law?

The New York City Commission on Human Rights is partnering with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York State Department of Labor so that NYC-based employers can meet compliance with both the New York State and New York City training requirements by utilizing the forthcoming online training provided by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The online training will be available on or before April 1, 2019.

Posting the Required Notice

Where should employers post the required notice?

Notices should be posted in conspicuous locations accessible to all employees such as breakrooms and other common areas. 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 multiple worksites, the notice must be posted at all sites. For employers with remote workers, you may provide the notice via email. 

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.

Does the notice have to be posted in color?

No, you may post the required English and Spanish notice in black and white.

Distributing the Required Fact Sheet

Who must receive the fact sheet?

All new employees must receive the fact sheet at the time of hire.  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.

How should employers distribute the fact sheet, which must be distributed to all new employees at the time of hire?

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.

Legal Standard

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.

How do I report that my employer is not in compliance with the requirements under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act?

Please contact the Commission by calling 311 or the Commission’s Infoline at (718) 722-3131.