Sexual harassment prevention model updated

Are you in compliance with New York’s new sexual harassment prevention model?

Based on New York law, every four years, the State must review the sexual harassment prevention model (implemented in 2018). Recently this occurred, and as a result of the review, more revisions and clarification are now part of the model.

The following are some questions employers might have regarding recent updates to the model.

Has the model for gender identity changed?

Yes, there are additional gender identity definitions for employers. The definitions address: cisgender, transgender and non-binary.

Sexual harassment and gender discrimination manifest in other ways than sexual contact and sexually suggestive conduct. Gender stereotyping also constitutes sexual harassment. Examples would be treating employees differently based on gender identity, which includes cisgender, transgender and non-binary gender identification.

What clarifications are in the model now?

The model provides further examples of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. In particular, it provides examples of sexual harassment arising in the context of remote work through electronic communication.

The model clarifies that “intent” is not a defense to harassment or discrimination. In addition, the objective standard for evaluating harassment and discrimination has chanced. The “reasonable victim” are now a standpoint for viewing claims. This applies the the same protected class or the same protected characteristics.

Furthermore, the model does not only apply to sexual harassment where gender is the protected class. The model also applies to other protected classes such as race, ethnicity, age, color, etc. “Bystander intervention” is described more in depth. The model clarifies courses of action a bystander, which could be a co-worker, can take when witnessing sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

How can employers implement the new model?

Employers can give employees a copy of the new model. If they want to incorporate the updated Model Policy into their own policy they can do that as well.

Reference: JD Supra

As an employer, do you need legal help with the sexual harassment prevention model?

Our firm can assist you with incorporating policies that help you protect your business. By getting your questions answered and addressing legal concerns proactively, you can often avoid disputes, lawsuits and expensive fines. If you have employment law questions, arrange an appointment. Discuss your concerns with an attorney at Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C. Call (718) 275-6500.