The new New York State and New York City laws on sexual harassment prevention are the broadest of their kind. Here are some of their unique aspects, and our thoughts on why they matter.
New York State mandates sexual harassment prevention training for all New York employees. New York City goes so far as to say that, for employers with 15 or more employees, even interns should receive training. We’re wholeheartedly behind the concept of training everyone. When everyone understands what sexual harassment is and how to prevent it, awareness and accountability spread, and there are fewer opportunities for incidents to occur or escalate.
The New York State and New York City laws both reference interactive training, and it’s also a key element of the California harassment training regulations. Trainings may be considered interactive if the include audio-visuals and enable trainer-trainee interaction, whether they’re trainings done in person or online. Generally, lawmakers are looking for trainings that are more engaging for the learner. We believe that interactive training techniques help keep the learners’ attention and help the learner retain the information they’ve been taught.
Annual training is a hallmark of both the NY State and NY City law. New York will be the first state to require yearly sexual harassment training. Given the harassment epidemic that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have brought to light, annual training seems entirely reasonable.
From a content perspective, the most interesting aspect of the New York City law is the requirement for harassment prevention to include bystander training. This speaks to the noble and practical intentions of the NY City legislature in truly trying to solve the problem. Bystander training helps teach how one should respond when you see something inappropriate happen. Here’s one of our micro-lessons that briefly walks through that all too common issue.
What to do when you see something inappropriate at work?