Must-See Viewing: NYC Sexual Harassment Video Training Released

3 minute read | April.16.2019

The New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”) released its long anticipated model anti-sexual harassment training on April 1, 2019.  The City’s model training satisfies all of the training requirements under both New York State and City laws, although the training is geared to educate viewers as to the broader sexual harassment protections afforded to workers by the New York City laws. 

The New York City model training video is 45 minutes long, was released in English and Spanish, and has been optimized for mobile devices, such as phones and tablets (it works on Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge).  The NYCCHR will release translations into nine other languages later this spring.  It accommodates individuals with disabilities by providing audio descriptions for the videos, closed captioning for the videos, and alt-text for the images and the icons.  It does not allow the viewer to save their progress, stop and come back later, view only certain parts of the training, or skip ahead.  Most slides require the viewer to manually proceed to the next slide.

The NYC training presents hypotheticals and does not assume any level of existing knowledge regarding NYC sexual harassment or discrimination laws.  The training also includes a discussion of bystander intervention and a video by the Honest Accomplice Theater, a Brooklyn nonprofit, which explains gender identities, including the definitions and differences between cisgender, transgender, and non-binary.

By way of reminder, in October 2018, New York State released two training videos: one overview of the laws and one set of hypotheticals.  The State training comes with a script that employers can customize, two PowerPoint decks that employers can adapt and present themselves, and hypotheticals that can be modified.  The entire training is narrated in English by the New York State Labor Commissioner, Roberta Reardon, and the videos have been translated into eight other languages (presented via subtitles).  Each State video is about 20 minutes long and each clearly presents the basics of unlawful sexual harassment.  The videos alone do not satisfy the State’s own interactive requirement.

Unlike the State model training, the New York City model training satisfies the State’s requirement that the training be interactive by having multiple true/false quizzes throughout, each of which requires an answer before continuing.  The training is designed to be completed individually and does not require any instructor, which is helpful to allowing for quick training of new employees.  At the end, the New York City model training generates a certificate of completion for the viewer.  Reminder that employers in New York City must maintain (for three years) a signed record of attendance for employees completing sexual harassment prevention training.

There has been some confusion over the deadline for New York City employers to conduct their first annual anti-sexual harassment training.  The City law requiring employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training went into effect April 1, 2019 and allows until the end of the calendar year for employers to provide the first training.  New York State requires all employers – regardless of the number of employees – to complete the first training by October 9, 2019, and annually thereafter.  In short, all New York employees, including those in New York City, must be trained on or before October 9, 2019.

See our previous blog posts on sexual harassment legislation developments here.