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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) related to the New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirement

    August 23, 2019 / By Tracy Rickett, UNY Human Resources Generalist

    Editor’s Note: New York State employers, including all churches, must provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training upon hire and on an annual basis. For this year, the training must be completed by all current employees and new hires by October 9, 2019. Below are some frequently asked questions about this training.


    Q1.         How frequently does the sexual harassment prevention training need to be completed?

    A1.         The sexual harassment prevention training needs to be completed by each new hire upon hire and each employee on an annual basis. 

    Q2.         What is the deadline to complete the sexual harassment prevention training?

    A2.         For 2019, NYS has imposed a completion date for all employees of October 9, 2019.  For subsequent years, employees need to complete it on an annual basis.  There is no set deadline for subsequent years.  It is up to the employer to choose a deadline for subsequent years.

    Q3.         Are pastors the only people required to complete this training?

    A3.         No, all employees are required to complete this training.

    Q4.         I have employees who work part-time, are they required to complete the training? 

    A4.         Yes, all employees regardless of the number of hours they work are required to complete the training on an annual basis.

    Q5.         How do I know if the folks in my church are employees?

    A5.         If the person is paid by the church and issued a W-2 year-end tax form, they are an employee.

    Q6.         Are non-employees (e.g. volunteers, contractors, etc.) required to complete this training?

    A6.         The NYS law requires all employees complete the sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis.  Non-employees are not required to complete the training.  However, an employer can choose to train non-employees if they would like to.

    Q7.         I completed the Safe Sanctuaries and Boundaries training.  Do I also need to complete the sexual harassment prevention training?

    A7.         Yes, the sexual harassment prevention training needs to be completed.  The Safe Sanctuaries, Boundaries, and sexual harassment prevention training are different training courses and cover different topics.  Safe Sanctuaries and Boundaries training does not exempt employees from the New York State sexual harassment prevention training requirements. 

    Q8.         I have an employee who has already taken sexual harassment prevention training with another employer.  Do they have to take the training class again through the church?

    A8.         The employee is only required to take the training class once on an annual basis.  The employee should provide a certificate of completion which includes their name, date of completion, and confirmation that the training met the NYS requirements.  This documentation is necessary for the church to have on file in case of an audit. 

    Q9.         Are online training classes available?

    A9.         Yes, online training classes are available through the Conference’s EAP provider, if the employee is eligible for the EAP.  There are other providers who offer online training courses for a fee. Click here to see a list of the online training providers.   

    Q10.       Does a trainer need to have a certification or special credentials?

    Q10.       New York State does not require the trainer to be certified or have special credentials to teach a sexual harassment prevention training course.

    Q11.       How can I locate a sample certificate of completion to provide to the attendees of the training course?

    A11.       Click here for a sample certificate.

    Q12.       Where can I locate more information on the new sexual harassment prevention law?

    A12.       New York State has developed a website for employers and employees which contains information about the sexual harassment prevention lawClick here to visit this website. 

    Conference Contact:

    If you have any questions regarding the New York State sexual harassment prevention requirements, please contact Tracy Rickett, Human Resources Generalist, at 315-898-2017 or

    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."