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The Other Shoe Drops: New York City Commission on Human Rights Publishes FAQs on Sexual Harassment Training

November 9, 2018

Under New York City's recently enacted Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act (NYC Local Law 96 (2018)), employers in New York City with 15 or more employees at any point in the previous calendar year must provide all employees and eligible independent contractors with sexual harassment training. The New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has just released FAQs that expound on these training requirements.

Under the CCHR's FAQs, independent contractors are counted as "employees" in meeting the 15 employee training threshold, regardless of the number of days or hours they work.

Further, the FAQs make clear that employers are required to train short-term employees, part-time employees and independent contractors who have worked more than 80 hours in the calendar year and worked for at least 90 days.

While employers are not required to train independent contractors who have been trained elsewhere, no such exemption from the training requirement exists for short-term or part-time employees.

The CCHR is developing online training that will be available on its website on or prior to April 1, 2019, the effective date of NYC Local Law 96 (2018). According to the FAQs, the CCHR is partnering with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York State Department of Labor so that New York City-based employers can comply with both the State and City requirements by using the CCHR's forthcoming online training.

Employers may choose to develop their own training or hire an outside party to train, as long as the training meets the requirements of the New York City law; such minimum requirements are likewise explained in the FAQs. We note, parenthetically, that the New York State Division on Human Rights has just released its own training videos for compliance with the New York State law for employers who choose to act now.

The first training deadline that New York employers face is the October 9, 2019 date established under the State law. According to the CCHR's FAQs, the City will have training materials available by April 1, 2019, which will be compliant with both the State and City training requirements, so the practical path of least resistance appears to be using the City's materials to train employees prior to the State's October 9 deadline. In other words, using the City's training materials before October 9 will satisfy both obligations.

Employees and eligible independent contractors must be trained every calendar year, even if they have been trained within the last 12 months. New hires should be trained as soon as possible under the State law and will be required to be trained as soon as possible after completion of 90 days of employment once the City law takes effect.

Employers will be required to keep a record of all trainings, including signed trainee acknowledgements, for at least three years, and to have such records available for the CCHR's inspection upon request. The acknowledgements may be maintained in print or electronic form.

The new FAQs also confirm the requirements for the distribution of the CCHR's fact sheet to all employees at the time of hire, which may be done via print or electronic means.

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Drogin, Laurent S. Partner and Chair of Labor and Employment Practice and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice Partner and Chair of Labor and Employment Practice and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice 212.216.8016 VCard
Steer, Richard L. Partner and Chair of Employment Practices Liability Insurance Practice Partner and Chair of Employment Practices Liability Insurance Practice 212.216.8070 VCard

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