The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) was invited by the Asian American Federation and some of its member agencies – not-for-profit organizations that have substantial Chinese-speaking staff – to help with training their limited-English-proficient staff in their native languages on the prevention of sexual harassment in order to meet the new requirements under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law.
On behalf of AABANY, Karen Kithan Yau, a co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and Eric Su, a co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee, both of whom are long-time employment lawyers, representing workers and employers respectively, gave three trainings, one in Cantonese Chinese, one in Mandarin Chinese, and one in English. The trainings took place in late September and early October. The training participants included kitchen and housekeeping staff, part-time teachers, museum staff, policy advocates, and an executive director. The discussion was rich, lively, and illuminating.
Every New York State employer is now required to provide sexual harassment training o their employees annually. That means that, as of October 9, 2019, every employer should have provided their first such training. Moreover, the New York State and City laws now protect virtually all employees, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services from sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus the need to provide linguistically and culturally competent instruction is acute. The New York City Human Rights Commission has provided impressive training materials, including online trainings in 11 languages. However, there remain employees who will need training in their native languages. Experienced employment attorneys or skilled trainers of human resources areas who are linguistically and culturally competent will continue to be needed.
Learn more about AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee here. Learn more about AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law Committee here. Thanks to Karen and Eric for providing these trainings to organizations serving the Asian American community.