Sexual Harassment Training in New York:

Effective October 9, 2018, ALL businesses in the state of New York to provide

          – 45 minute minimum sexual harassment prevention training to ALL employees        
Training must be completed by October 9, 2019.  New York sexual harassment training of new hires needs to be completed within 6 months of their new position and must be renewed once every year.

*New York City requires businesses of 15 or more employees to provide training to ALL employees.


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What is Sexual Harassment?

According to EEOC and New York State regulations define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser.

The following is a partial list of prohibited behavior:

  • Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters.
  • Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs and jokes. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual.
  • Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements.
  • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Making or threatening retaliatory action after receiving a negative response to sexual advances.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • A harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.
Who needs to take New York sexual harassment training?

Employers having 15 or more employees must train all supervisors in New York, as well as non-supervisory employees in New York. A supervisor is anyone with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees. Additionally, a supervisor is also anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment. 

Part-time, seasonal, temporary and independent contractors are counted towards the “15 or more persons” but only actual only employees are required to receive training. 

What is the deadline for employees to be trained?

ALL employees (not including independent contractors), supervisors and non-supervisors, should be trained immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible.

Why should I receive training? 

Sexual harassment complaints and lawsuits are on the rise.  The sooner you and your business receive prevention training, your business will be able to recognize, better handle and the mitigate, reduce or eliminate the risk of workplace harassment complaints.  Education and training also increases awareness, morale, and productivity.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. It should be clearly communicated to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. One clear step is by providing New York sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.  (EEOC)  

What happens if I completed my training on 6/1/2019?

According to the law, you will need to renew your training by 6/1/2020.

When do new hires and new supervisors need to be trained by?

As employers may be liable for the actions of employees immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible. Employers should distribute the policy to employees at the time of hiring as part of a notice, which also includes training materials.

My business employs seasonal and temporary employees, do they still need to be trained? 

“Employee” includes all workers. regardless of immigration status.  Employee also includes exempt or non-exempt employees, part time workers, seasonal workers, and temporary workers. 

Who is considered a Supervisor?

A supervisor is anyone with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees. In addition, a supervisor is anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment.   Although Supervisors are not necessarily required to take a longer training, we recommend the 2 Hour Supervisor Training as supervisors have a greater responsibilities.

What content must be covered in the training?

According to the DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) and State Guidelines, any training must explain the following:

  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Relevant statutes and case-law prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
  • Different types of conduct that can be sexual harassment;
  • Any remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment;
  • Practical examples of harassment;
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
  • Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it;
  • How employers must correct harassing behavior;
  • What to do if a supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
  • The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
  • “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).
  • Discuss harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, which shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
What should I do if I experience a sexual assault, sexual violence, or other criminal acts?

If you experience sexual harassment that rises to the level of violence or assault, you should immediately contact law enforcement. Please see the New York Division of Human Rights Office:

  • For information on how to file a complaint, visit:
  • You can call 1-888-392-3644
  • You can visit a Division of Human Right office and file a complaint in person:
Who is a qualified trainer?

There are three types of qualified trainers:

1. Attorneys

      who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;

2. Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in: 

      • Designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention;
      • Responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints;
      • Investigating sexual harassment complaints; or
      • Advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention.

3. Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or New York teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the FEHA or Title VII.

Neither DFEH nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.




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