The New York labor law requires every employer, no matter its size (including a family business), to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy that meets or exceeds the minimum standards set by New York State. Every such policy must include examples of prohibited conduct, a complaint form, procedures for investigation of any complaint, information on all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints and provide annual interactive training sessions for all employees located in New York State.

All employees (including minor employees) must receive annual sexual harassment prevention training. The annual trainings must be interactive, including requiring the employees to respond to questions based on the training and allowing employees to ask questions. The trainings do not need to be live to be interactive.  Training sessions can be provided online with a question and answer sheet that employees can complete (either electronically or in hard copy) and submit to the employer. Employers must answer employee questions in a timely manner, if the training is not live. Any employees under the age of 14 may receive a simplified version of training and policy, though it must still meet the minimum state requirements. Employers should retain records of the annual trainings and employee completion.

Recently, New York State updated the model prevention policy requirements, including an expanded number of foreign languages in which employers must provide notices, claim forms and trainings. The foreign languages now included are Bengali, Chinese, Hatian-Creole, Korean, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. At the time of hire and during annual training sessions, employers must provide the sexual harassment prevention policy in writing, in English and in any other primary language indicated by an employee to his or her employer. New York State has provided written training information and case studies in these languages, which are available here.

Additionally, the law protects employees from harassment by third parties, including customers, clients, outside vendors, independent contractors and gig workers. Thus, the law requires family businesses and households that employee even one domestic worker (such as a nanny or housekeeper) to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and related annual training.


For further information or guidance on revising your policies and procedures, please contact David Paseltiner or Rose Egan.