New York City is considering a law that would require businesses with at least 15 employees to conduct training aimed at preventing sexual harassment. Company owners would have to provide interactive training - either in person, with audiovisual material or some other form approved by the city’s Human Rights Commission - and maintain records of compliance. Failing to do so could earn companies penalties of up to $500 for their first violation, and up to $2,000 for each one after.
More than 30,000 businesses in the city could be affected by the regulation.
Called the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act, the package of legislation would create a system to allow anonymous disclosure of potential harassment-related problems. Additionally, it would require employers to display a poster showing examples of sexual harassment and providing contact information for those wishing to reach city, state or federal authorities with complaints.
Several of the bills create reporting requirements for city contractors or agencies.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement indicating support for the “concepts” in the legislation and a willingness to work with the city council on the details.
Sonia Ossorio, the president of National Organization for Women of New York, called the proposals “a big step forward.”
Business groups are predicting that if it passes, the legislation will create compliance and legal burdens for companies.
Legislators at the state level, along with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, say they are considering a similar legislative effort. California and Maine already require businesses to conduct sexual harassment prevention training.