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The Nan Gallagher Law Group Launches The Labyrinth Program on Anti-Harassment & Anti-Discrimination for Your Medical Practice.

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New Jersey Now Mandates and is Set to Enforce Strict Sexual Harassment Practices.

Don’t Let Your Medical Practice Be Vulnerable.

In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, the State of New Jersey has taken charge and codified substantive enhancements to the already-existing New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to add robust requirements to thwart sexual harassment in the workplace.  Sexual harassment affects more than just the employees involved—it affects your entire practice. Besides causing emotional duress and decreased performance, lawsuits resulting from sexual harassment are stressful and expensive. Sexual harassment prevention training for any employer, including medical practices, can help build awareness as well as provide guidelines on what to do when encountering these situations. Not only is it the right practice decision, but now New Jersey requires employers to offer sexual harassment training for all employees.

On February 18, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced broad legislation to modify the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and to combat harassment in the workplace, including a requirement that all employers provide training on unlawful harassment and discrimination. The announcement came after a year-long review by the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.

The legislation contains training requirements are similar to legislation adopted in several other states, including New York and California. However, the New Jersey legislation goes even further in a number of important ways.

New Training Requirements

Beginning one year after enactment, all employers in New Jersey would be required to provide all employees interactive training on preventing unlawful workplace harassment and discrimination.

After the initial training, all employees would be required to be retrained at least once every two years.

Training must cover the following topics, which must also be included in the employer’s written non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies:

  1. Definitions of unlawful discrimination and harassment based on protected categories under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination;
  2. Examples of discriminatory and harassing conduct prohibited by law;
  3. A statement that unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace is not tolerated and is considered a form of employee misconduct;
  4. A statement that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in such misconduct, as well as against supervisory employees who knowingly allow such behavior to continue;
  5. Description of potential consequences for violating the policy;
  6. Statement that these policies apply to all employees in interactions with other employees as well as with vendors, suppliers, customers, clients, and patrons;
  7. Statement of the employer’s commitment to conducting prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations of complaints of discrimination or harassment;
  8. Explanation of bystander intervention;
  9. Description of the process and contact information for filing internal complaints;
  10. Information on how to contact the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights to file a complaint of, or to seek advice regarding discrimination or harassment;
  11. Prohibition on retaliation against those who disclose, report, participate in an investigation of, or otherwise challenge such discrimination or harassment and examples of retaliatory conduct prohibited by the policy;
  12. Statute of limitations periods applicable to filing a claim of unlawful discrimination and harassment under the NJLAD.

In addition to the training requirements above, supervisory employees also are required to receive additional training on:

  1. Supervisor responsibilities preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation;
  2. Corrective actions supervisors may take to address complaints and instances of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Employers are now required to keep and maintain training records for at least three years. They are also required to review their training annually to ensure its compliance.

Finally, employers with 50 or more employees are now required to provide the training live in an in-person setting in which participants can ask questions. These large employers are also required to provide interpretation for any employee who does not speak English as their primary language, and has limited or no ability to read, speak, write, or understand English.

Here, at The Nan Gallagher Law Group, we are launching our new Labyrinth Program designed to afford medical practices the critical insight, sensitivities, policies, and training necessary to comply with the new and stringent sexual harassment and discrimination laws.  The Labyrinth Program includes all of the following to go into effect on January 1, 2021 and each year thereafter:

  • Anti-Harassment & Anti-Discrimination Policies
  • Staff Training
  • Supervisor Training
  • Certifications of Staff & Supervisor Training
  • Workplace Investigations

Now is not the time to test the limits of these updated laws.  Become a Labyrinth member today.  As we are setting our training schedules for January already, professional courtesies are offered to anyone who joins by November 30th.

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