Delaware: New Sexual Harassment Protections and Training Requirements

APPLIES TO

Employers with 4 or more DE Employees

EFFECTIVE

January 1, 2019

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Governor Carney recently signed HB 360 implementing new sexual harassment protections and employee training requirements.

Who does the bill apply to? The bill applies to employers with 4 or more employees. It also applies to state employees, unpaid interns, applicants, joint employees, and apprentices.

What does the bill prohibit? The bill prohibits sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) it is explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, (2) submission or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions, or (3) it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

What are the employer’s requirements? Employers must distribute an information sheet about the new law, issued by the Delaware Department of Labor, to new employees at the beginning of employment and to existing employees before July 1, 2019. Employers with 50 or more employees in Delaware must provide sexual harassment training within 1 year of employment and every 2 years thereafter, and to current employees before January 1, 2020 and every 2 years thereafter. There are different training content requirements for employees versus supervisors. Training is not required for applicants, independent contractors, employees employed less than 6 months continuously, and temporary employees placed by an employment agency (except that the employment agency is deemed to be the employer for training purposes).

When are employers responsible? Employers are responsible when a supervisor’s sexual harassment results in a negative employment action, the employer knew or should have known about the sexual harassment and failed to take appropriate corrective measures, or retaliating against an employee for making a claim, participating in an investigation, or testifying in a proceeding.

What can employers do to minimize risk? The bill creates an affirmative defense if an employer proves that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassment promptly, and the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

Action Items

  1. Have a sexual harassment policy prepared consistent with the new requirements and distribute to employees to acknowledge.
  2. Update new hire procedures with required notice and training components.
  3. Have current employees trained on sexual harassment by the required deadlines.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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