Sexual Harassment in New York State — How Training Promotes Change

The issue of sexual harassment is not a new one, but now more than ever, public consciousness has turned toward finding a solution. Today, we have a unique opportunity to spark real growth through effective learning tactics.

Many states have their own sets of requirements for sexual harassment training, and following those requirements carefully not only ensure compliance but also creates an inclusive and comfortable environment for every employee.

Due to updating requirements, employers should turn a discerning eye to their current sexual harassment training, and question whether it’s truly serving the company in the highest degree possible.

Is your sexual harassment training designed to drive a culture of change?

As with any type of training, simply going through the motions to tick boxes won’t incite real progress.

In looking at a sexual harassment training program, keep an eye out for some hallmarks of thoughtful design, like:

  • Interactive modules
  • specific examples of sexual harassment and how to navigate them a thorough rundown of employees’ rights
  • The practice of generalizing or glossing over uncomfortable information is unproductive; the only effective training is one that will spark actual thought, and maybe even discourse.

A training that details the laws, definitions, and responsibilities associated with sexual harassment, but fails to provide a specific situational example and check in on employees’ understanding, ranks as a missed opportunity to positively affect company culture.

Do more than simply comply with legal requirements—take it several steps further into a space of actual education in order to drive change.

Unpacking New York sexual harassment training needs

As of October 2018, New York state began requiring annual sexual harassment training for every employee in their spoken language.

New York’s annual requirement speaks to an overarching fact in modern culture: things are constantly moving, constantly evolving, constantly updating, and harassment training ought to follow suit.

Beyond this new recurring schedule, there are half a dozen other requirements that sexual harassment training must meet in order to comply with New York state standards. These requirements include:

  • Interactivity
  • Official definitions
  • Examples
  • Federal and State provisions
  • Employees’ rights
  • Supervisor responsibility

These requirements essentially mean that employees must be educated on all relevant legislation related to sexual harassment, as well as the real-world ways that those statutes may affect them, should they experience sexual harassment. Additionally, supervisors and subordinates alike are made aware of the ways that those in managerial positions are required to behave.

Since New York now requires annual training, employers can no longer rest on their laurels and consult the same training system year after year—a highly interactive and evolving system of learning is the only way to ensure that employees genuinely take something away from the process.

What’s more, the robust set of requirements listed by New York takes more time and effort to compile than may be immediately evident. It would take an exceptional amount of work for an employer to create a training system that complies with New York’s standards on their own. An eLearning kit on the subject helps ensure that content does not become stale and outdated, as with many other forms of training.

Are you ready for California’s new sexual harassment training requirements?

New York isn’t the only state with an evolving landscape of legislation surrounding sexual harassment. California is also rethinking its sexual harassment requirements in the wake of social movements calling out this unwelcome behavior.

As of January 2020, any company with at least 5 employees must provide non-supervisory workers with a minimum of 1 hour of sexual harassment training—this number of employees was previously much higher. Now, even fledgling companies will be required to provide sexual harassment training that conforms with California’s requirements.

Additionally, companies whose supervisors perpetrate sexual harassment will be held liable for that supervisor’s actions. This raises the stakes on sexual harassment training, further incentivizing companies to partake in robust, thoughtful training.

California’s new requirements speak to a larger cultural trend that states sexual harassment is no longer tolerable, so companies can either take action to eliminate it from their ranks or face the consequences of their inaction.

Interactive Services understands the evolving landscape surrounding the issue of sexual harassment, even in states with complicated sets of requirements like New York.

Not only do we understand the space, but we have also worked to develop training that navigates within it effectively. This means that employees who undergo our eLearning understand the legal implications of sexual harassment, but are also imbued with the sense that this sort of behavior is untenable.

These are times of great advancement. Never before have we had so much information at our fingertips, nor have we been so interconnected and aware of each other’s experiences. It’s time to harness the capabilities of the digital age and use them to affect progress in the space of sexual harassment.

The right training doesn’t just protect a company from unsavory ramifications—it can actually promote change.