Delaware Enacts New Statute in the Wake of the #MeToo Movement
By: Robert W. Small
Delaware has joined the ranks of states responding to the #MeToo movement by enacting a new statute that, among other things, requires Delaware employers to give bi-annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. Although such training has long been among “best practices” followed by well-advised Employers, for many, if not most, Delaware Employers such training now will be mandatory. Under the new law, beginning January 1, 2019, Employers with four or more employees must provide an Information Sheet issued by the Delaware Department of Labor to all new employees when they start employment informing them of their right to be free from sexual harassment and how to address any experienced in the workplace.
All existing employees must be provided the Information Sheet by July 1, 2019. It may be distributed either in hard copy or electronically. We recommend that, in addition to giving it directly to each employee, Employers incorporate the Notice into Employee Handbooks. Employers should keep good records of providing the Information Sheet to employees (i.e. obtain receipts) to be able to prove compliance with this requirement.
Also under the new law, Delaware Employers with 50 or more employees must provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees every two years. At a minimum, the training must inform employees of the definition of sexual harassment by using specific examples; the illegality of sexual harassment; the legal remedies and the complaint procedure available to employees who feel they are the victims of sexual harassment; how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor; and, that the law prohibits Employers from retaliating against an employee who complains of sexual harassment or one assisting an employee who has complained of such harassment. Such training should include a discussion of both the Employer’s mechanism for dealing with sexual harassment complaints and the employee’s legal rights to complain to the State.
Employers with 50 or more employees also must provide training to supervisory employees as to their specific duties in preventing and addressing sexual harassment and the law’s prohibition against retaliating against an employee who makes a claim of harassment.
All employees must receive the required training during 2019, but Employers who already have a training program in place that complies with the statute have until January 1, 2020 to comply. Newly hired employees must receive training within one year of hire and every two years thereafter. Newly hired or promoted supervisors must receive supervisor training within one year of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter. It will be imperative that Employers create and keep records of attendance at training in employee personnel files and establish a mechanism to assure that all employees receive the required training on this schedule.
The attorneys in Reger Rizzo & Darnall’s Employment Practices Group have extensive experience providing the training required by the new law and stand ready to either provide such training to the employees of our Employer clients or assist our Clients in developing in-house training programs.
If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact Bob Small, Partner in Reger Rizzo & Darnall’s Employment Practices Group, at 215.495.6541, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law. For help with these or any other legal issues, please contact Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP. The content of this newsletter is intended solely for your informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.