New York labor officials on Thursday will hold a public hearing on how to improve sexual harassment policies for employers in the state as the pandemic has changed how people work and interact with each other.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in New York City.
New Yorkers are invited to give feedback online and attend the hearing to help shape potential changes to the policy.
“The pandemic had caused tremendous damage to our workforce, and we must modernize our Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy in order to keep pace,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this public comment period to make their voices heard, and to help ensure that our state continues to lead the nation in providing safe, inclusive work environments. No one should be subjected to any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, and we are taking an important step in protecting New Yorkers in a comprehensive, effective way.”
The pandemic has led to more people working from home and interacting in remote settings over video conference. New York’s sexual harassment policies for employers were developed pre-pandemic in 2018.
The policy is meant to provide for employers and workers, regardless of a company's or nonprofit’s size, a uniform set of standards for sexual harassment training and prevention. The legislation required the harassment policy be reviewed and updated every four years.
The hearing will also dovetail with an online public comment period that runs through Sept. 20.
“The Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy was a bold and successful initiative, but over the past four years, workplaces have significantly changed in many ways, due largely to the effects of the pandemic and the growth of remote work,” Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “To ensure this initiative keeps up with evolving workplaces, the policy is required to undergo a revision process every four years. Our review will rely heavily on the feedback received at this public hearing, because we know how important it is for workers and businesses to have a voice in this process. We encourage everyone and anyone to attend.”