Chamber Corner – September 9, 2019

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Article Contributed by
Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce

Workplace Sexual Harassment Compliance Deadline is October 9

In 2019 alone, New York State has implemented at least a dozen new regulations focused on employee interactions in the workplace. While we work with The Business Council of New York State and Manufacturers Alliance of New York to advocate against stringent requirements that hamper businesses, we also understand the need for some regulation and respect the employers’ concerns about fulfilling those obligations. As a result, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier have partnered with HR360 to bring our members the convenience of an online platform that helps to keep track of and meet regulations implemented by both the state and federal Departments of Labor.

Among the most pressing concerns for local companies is the looming October 9 deadline for compliance with the state’s new Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Law. The law requires that each company have a written policy addressing workplace sexual harassment, distributes that policy to all employees, and provides training to each employee every year. All new hires are required to be trained when they begin employment. The HR360 platform offers compliance videos that meet the state’s requirements for employee interaction, and the Chamber/MAST offer this program at no additional charge as a benefit of their membership in our organizations.

To date, more than 270 local companies have signed up to participate in this important program. Based on a review of the demographics of current members, approximately 90 percent are small businesses reporting fewer than 50 full time equivalent employees. Small businesses typically do not employ a full-time professional Human Resources staff member, and those tasks often fall to various department heads or managers who also have other responsibilities. Fortunately, we can help. It’s a simple system, and local member businesses can call the Chamber/MAST to get set up. This robust library of resources through the online portal helps our members maintain compliance with all ongoing regulations of both the state and federal governments. For more information, please call our office at 366-6200 or 484-1101.