Updates to New York’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policies



On April 11, 2023, New York State made significant updates to its model sexual harassment prevention policy. All New York employers are required to implement the new model policy or update their existing policies to ensure compliance with New York State’s new standards.

The most significant changes in the new model policy include:

  • A lower standard for harassment to be deemed to have occurred under New York State law. Specifically, harassment does not have to be severe and pervasive to be illegal. Instead, any harassing behavior that rises above petty slights or trivial inconveniences could be considered harassment. Whether conduct is considered petty or trivial will be viewed from the standpoint of a “reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristics”;
  • A statement indicating that the intent of the behavior does not neutralize a harassment claim;
  • An explanation of gender diversity;
  • A new section addressing bystander intervention; and
  • A statement noting other types of harassment that could take place in the workplace, such as discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, and other protected classes.

Employers are not required to implement the new model policy. If an employer chooses not to implement the new model policy, the employer must ensure that its current policy includes at least the requirements found here.

The new model policy can also be found at the above link.

What Should Nonprofit Employers Do Now?

Employers should either implement the new model policy or update their current policy to meet the revised standards for sexual harassment prevention policies in New York.

Questions?

Please contact the White Plains Office of Pro Bono Partnership at 914-328-0674 if you have questions.

This document is provided as a general informational service to volunteers, clients, and friends of Pro Bono Partnership. It should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does distribution of this document create an attorney-client relationship.