Foreign Language Workplace Materials Released By NY State

foreign language workplace materials

We are happy to see that the State of New York has responded to supporting our industry’s commitment to eliminating sexual harassment. Employers are supposed to provide their anti-harassment policy and training materials in the employee’s primary language, provided that the DOL has posted the appropriate materials to its website in such language.

Last month, the state took an important step when The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) posted foreign language workplace materials online for employers and employees. Among the information released are the state’s new sexual harassment prevention laws and the necessary policy and training documents. These materials, which were released in English earlier this month, have now been translated into Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.

Employers are supposed to provide their anti-harassment policy and training materials in the employee’s primary language, provided that the DOL has posted the appropriate materials to its website in such language. If an employer has any employees whose primary language is not included in the DOL’s recently translated materials, the employer may provide that employee an English-language version of these materials and still be considered compliant with its obligations under the law.

The foreign language workplace materials released include a number of key components to assist our restaurant and foodservice professionals implement a sexual harassment policy. Among the documents are sexual harassment prevention policy notice, and a model complaint form.

In addition, the documents include the minimum standards for employer sexual harassment prevention policies, a model sexual harassment prevention policy, sexual harassment prevention training materials, and sexual harassment prevention toolkit for employers and employees; and most importantly restaurant owners and managers will find a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.

Last month’s posting, follows the late August, New York State release in English of a draft of its (i) model sexual harassment policy, (ii) model complaint form for employees to report sexual harassment, (iii) FAQs regarding the new law, (iv) minimum standard guidelines, and (v) model training.

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Last month also saw the State of New York respond to a number of comments submitted on the draft policy and FAQs issued in August. Among the notable changes to the final documents issued on October 1 are references in the model policy to the employer having a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual harassment and retaliation have been removed. This brought, the State’s guidance in line with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s position .

So the take-away from last month is that though the initial training deadline has now been extended to October 9, 2019, we suggest that employers begin considering how they will fulfill their training obligations under the law. It is especially important to make that commitment with those training requirements that will become effective on April 1, 2019 for employers covered by the New York City Human Rights Law.

Andrew Rigie
Andrew Rigie is the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade association formed in 2012 to foster the growth and vitality of the industry that has made New York City the Hospitality Capital of the World. Learn more at thenycalliance.org/