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NYS Introduces Toll-Free Hotline to Report Workplace Harassment The hotline is staffed by pro-bono attorneys

Nys Harassment Hotline

On July 19, 2022, the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR) and Governor Kathy Hochul introduced a state-wide toll-free hotline for employees across the state to report sexual harassment in the workplace. The DHR is staffing the hotline with pro-bono attorneys who will provide callers with legal counseling about filing a complaint. The launch of the hotline has been widely covered in the media, and it’s very probable that this announcement will lead to an increase in complaints that are filed.

Action Steps

Employers need to make sure that their harassment prevention and reporting policies are in compliance with the NYS laws on this subject and that all employees are current on the annual training. 

Employers should add the hotline number to their sexual harassment prevention policy in the explanation of employees' external rights of redress. The Division of Human Rights is expected to update posters and model policy language, but as of now they have not made those changes.

 What needs to be in the policy?

  • A statement prohibiting sexual harassment and examples of what constitutes harassment;
  • Information about federal, state, and local sexual-harassment laws and the remedies that are available to victims;
  • A standard complaint form;
  • A complaint procedure that ensures due process for all parties;
  • An explanation of employees' external rights of redress and the available administrative and judicial forums for bringing complaints;
  • A statement that sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against those who engage in sexual harassment and against supervisors who knowingly allow such behavior to continue;
  • A non-retaliation statement for reporting sexual harassment or testifying or assisting in related proceedings.

HR One has developed language for our clients that can be used to update the anti-harassment policy and complaint procedures within their employee handbooks.

 What needs to be in the annual training?

First, it’s important to note that the training must be interactive. It can be an in-person seminar, a webinar, or one on one. The training must include:

  •  An explanation of sexual harassment and specific examples of inappropriate conduct;
  • Detailed information concerning federal, state and local laws and the remedies available to victims of harassment;
  • An explanation of employees' external rights of redress and the available administrative and judicial forums for bringing complaints.

HR One has developed several training solutions that comply with the law, including our recently updated On-Demand Training option, which is available with closed captioning and Spanish language subtitles. For more information and details on the on-demand and other training options available, email info@peopletopayroll.com

 The Division of Human Rights hotline number is 1-800-427-2773 and it will be staffed from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.