Key Takeaways from New York's Updated Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and Training

Key Takeaways from New York's Updated Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and Training

April 18, 2023

In 2018, New York State amended its Labor Law, requiring employers to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies that meet or exceed a model policy outlined by the State. The update also required legislators to review their policies every four years and make any necessary updates. Recently, the State released its updated model.

The updated model includes some significant additions of which employers will want to be aware.

Employers must now include in all sexual harassment training materials:

  • A slide or written page outlining what gender identity is.
  • Clarification that a behavior does not have to be ongoing, repetitive, or pervasive to constitute harassment. “Any harassing conduct can be unlawful if it rises above ‘petty slights or trivial inconveniences.’”
  • Clarification that intent may not constitute a defense against a claim of harassment (eg. “I was only kidding.”
  • A reminder that harassment can occur outside of the traditional office space, including with remote workers.
  • Various examples of sexual stereotyping in the workplace.
  • Clarification that employers may be liable if a third-party contractor (a water delivery driver, copier repair person, etc.) engages in harassing behavior in the workplace.
  • Examples detailing how bystanders can intervene to stop harassing behavior.
  • An explanation that refusing to address an employee by his, her, or their preferred name and pronouns is grounds for a harassment claim.
  • An offer to employees to attend training away from co-workers to avoid any triggering reaction.


The laws governing harassment in the workplace are evolving and nuanced. We are available to review your current training materials, guide you in updating them to ensure compliance, and answer any questions you may have.

You can visit these links to download the most recent model materials put forth by New York State. Script for Employers | Slide Deck for Employers

Attorney Kevin Burke counsels employers on recent developments in employment law, and the implementation of policies and procedures which enable employers to be in compliance with federal and state laws. He can be reached at 716-854-4300 ext. 292 or