New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation into law that aims to prevent human trafficking and will impose new posting and training requirements on most hospitality industry employers.
Human Trafficking Awareness Posting Requirements
Pursuant to the new legislation, establishments that sell alcoholic beverages or adult entertainment are required to post visible information notices that clearly feature the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline for assistance. The notice must be positioned upright in a conspicuous place where patrons and employees of the establishment can easily read it. This requirement takes effect immediately and employers who fail to comply will be subject to civil penalties up to $100.00 for each day of the violation.
The New York Department of Labor issued a human trafficking awareness and prevention in both English and Spanish, which is available for establishment use and can be found at: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/02/p746.pdf
Human Trafficking Recognition Training
In addition, all employers that are required to provide New York State Liquor Authority-certified Alcohol Training Awareness Programs must include in the training a component related to human trafficking awareness. Further, every inn, hotel, motel, and establishment that provides lodging to transient guests must provide an on-site human trafficking recognition training program to all employees who “are likely to interact or come into contact with guests.”
The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which are consulting with the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, will post a list of approved training programs online. At a minimum, the training will address the nature of human trafficking, recognizing victims of human trafficking, and reporting suspected human trafficking.
The legislation pertaining to the training requirements will go into effect on July 30, 2023, but employers have until November 20, 2023 to train all covered employees. Thereafter, all covered employees must receive this training within their first 60 days of employment.
Employers are also required to compensate employees for their training time and to maintain records of all training records. Entities that fail to implement a human trafficking awareness program curriculum will no longer be authorized to administer any alcohol training awareness program and will not be eligible for certification as a state liquor authority school. Further, any currently certified alcohol training awareness program that fails to include human trafficking awareness training as part of its curriculum will lose its certification.
Hospitality employers must post the new notices as soon as possible to ensure compliance. Additionally, employers should ensure that any training materials they utilize and offer to employees contain the newly required information to increase awareness of human trafficking.