By Calvin Gower, Trüpp.
Harassment is illegal on a federal level, meaning that no matter the location of an organization, employers benefit from having policies and training programs in place. By making this a priority, businesses are establishing a more respectful work environment with a focus on the well-being of employees, while also reducing risk.
As expected, the trend of mandatory harassment training is continuing through 2019. There are now six states and one city with laws that have made it a requirement for employers. Though the conditions of each law vary in time, frequency, and content details; they are all playing a part in a growing trend to prevent harassment in the workplace. For more detail on the specific laws in place (as of August 2019), take a look at the summaries below.
Employers with five or more employees are required to provide a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour of training to all other employees. All current employees must receive training by the end of 2019 and repeat every two years going forward.
Effective October 1, 2019, employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees within six months of hire. All existing employees must go through the training by October 1, 2020.
Employers with 50 or more employees must provide training within a year of an employee’s start-date and repeat every two years after that. Current employees must receive training before the end of 2019.
As of January 1, 2020, employers with 15 or more employees must provide training that is equivalent to or exceeds the minimum standards of the state model, and the training must take place yearly.
Employers with 15 or more employees must adopt a training program that meets the requirements provided by the Maine Department of Labor checklist. The law also states that employers must deliver the training within one year of an employee’s start date.
All employers must provide employees with annual training. The training needs to be interactive and include an explanation of sexual harassment, related examples, and ways to report it.
New York City
Employers with 15 or more employees must train employees within 90 days of hire. This training must cover an explanation of sexual harassment, the employer’s complaint process, bystander intervention methods, and responsibilities for supervisors.
If you don’t see your state listed above, it doesn’t mean your organization doesn’t need to take steps to prevent harassment. As mentioned above, harassment is illegal in all states. Providing workplace harassment training, establishing clear policies and procedures, and communicating your commitment to a respectful work environment has a significant impact on employee behavior and risk mitigation. Providing this service to employees isn’t just about reducing risk and checking the compliance box. It is a significant step forward for creating a safe and respectful workplace that values employees.