Thursday, 15 November 2018 16:46

Notes from Chamber of Commerce: Every Employer Should Read This

By Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce | Business

Here’s a new law that impacts every employer in New York State. 

Every employer. In the Public. Private. And impact sector. Every. One.

If you have one employee or more, New York State has declared that ALL employers are REQUIRED to have a sexual harassment policy. And the law says this had to be done by October 9, 2018. That’s more than a month ago. 

Do you have such a policy? Has it been shared with your employees? Did they sign off that they received and read it? If not, you are not in compliance with this new law.

The New York State Division of Human Rights issued its final regulations regarding this sexual harassment policy requirement and new training guidelines on October 1, 2018. 

Yes, that is just a few days before employers were required to comply. But it is the law. And every employer should look into this right away.

I am convinced that many employers are not aware of this new law. No notices were sent to employers. There was very little public attention paid to this new rule when it was released. In talking with human resources experts, they are concerned that many small employers or impact sector leaders figure they are exempt. But no one is exempt. 

This is a serious effort to end sexual harassment in every workplace in New York State. 

This is an important goal. And there is no doubt, New York State is serious. So are we.

The Saratoga County Chamber has already hosted two online workshops on the subject. 

One with Attorney Michael Billok of Bond, Schoeneck and King. The other with Rose Miller of Pinnacle Human Resources. We’ve emailed our members at least three times with information to help them understand the importance of taking action.

Thanks to Jim Marco of Saratoga Human Resources, the Chamber itself adopted a compliant policy on time and shared this with our employees. We went one step further with Mr. Marco training our employees on this new law and our new policy right away. 

Besides establishing a policy, EVERY employer must also train EVERY employee. This training must be done by October 9, 2019, less than one year from now. The training must be interactive and include specific information about each employer’s policy.

The fact is that this training must be interactive. The training must include a discussion as to how an employee must report a violation. As such, it is nearly impossible for the Chamber to offer one educational program for all of our members and their employees. 

As a result, the responsibility for creating and sharing a policy and for conducting a training program is really up to each and every employer. We’d love to do more but we can’t legally.

New York State has created a website and a model policy. Local human resource professionals and area law firms are ready and willing to help both with developing a model policy and with helping you to conduct the required training.

If you’d like more details, you might start by going to Youtube and searching for the Saratoga County Chamber. The two online workshops we’ve hosted have been placed on our Youtube channel. You can watch them at any time.

Watching these videos will help you to understand the legal requirements, why New York State is taking this action, and the options you have to ensure you are in compliance.

And if you have further questions, please give us a call at 518-584-3255. We’re here to help. 

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