Chamber/MAST help members achieve compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Law

Submitted Photo The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier on Wednesday unveiled a new human resources product offering designed to help local member businesses meet the New York State requirements around sexual harassment workplace policies and interactive training. Shown (L-R) are Kevin Sixbey, Chamber Director of Insurance Services who is assisting with the implementation of the program; Matt Churchill, owner of Water Street Brass; Joe and Alyvia Town, owners of Pace’s Pizzeria who hosted the news conference; and Todd Tranum, Chamber President & CEO and MAST Executive Director.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier are pleased to provide a new resource that offers New York State compliant workplace harassment guidance and tools, and much more. By providing an online platform, the Chamber and MAST can offer a round-the-clock human resources package that provides compliance recommendations, tools and video solutions for real world employee situations.

New York State required that all workplaces, no matter their size, implement a policy around sexual harassment by October of 2018. That policy must be shared with every employee. In addition, by October of 2019, every employee must participate each year in an interactive exercise that demonstrates what comprises sexual harassment and how to prevent it and report it. The state Department of Labor has recommended that this exercise become part of the hiring and on-boarding process for every employee.

Todd Tranum, Chamber President and CEO and MAST Executive Director, said, “Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue and businesses need to move pro-actively to address it. With this new service we will help businesses comply with New York State requirements and help foster improved awareness and harassment prevention in the workplace. In addition to creating a safe work culture it is important for businesses to take steps to protect their own interests. Our goal is to help in that process.”

Kevin Sixbey, Director of Insurance Services for the Chamber and MAST, has been working to help implement the new program. “We have an easy, turn-key opportunity for businesses to participate. Whether they have one employee or dozens, we can get them set up quickly and easily to work through this platform. This is a true value-added product for our member businesses.”

Demonstrating the ease of working through the process for different types of businesses, restauranteurs Joe and Alyvia Town, owner of Pace’s Pizzeria, and manufacturer Matt Churchill, owner of Water Street Brass, have participated in the roll-out of this new product.

Mr. Churchill said, “My business has 60 employees. For many business owners and human resources departments it’s an ongoing struggle to keep up with all of the regulations as they change. This is a huge benefit for a company like ours where it would be extremely challenging to get everyone in the same place for a specialized training program. We are grateful to have this provided through our Chamber/MAST membership.”

Mr. Town added, “Matt has 60 employees and we have six. But we have the same requirements from the Department of Labor and the same challenges in providing other types of interactive programs that may meet the state requirements. This is an enormous benefit for small restaurants and other small businesses that have on-going needs around human resources, and to get it for the price of our Chamber membership is a real value.”

Access to the online compliance system is an added benefit for all members of the Chamber and MAST. There is no additional cost beyond the annual membership investment to access the HR compliance tools and sexual harassment compliance video.

The mission of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is to create a business environment in the region where members can thrive.

The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier is a pro-active leader, committed to enhancing the economic strength of the region, by acting as a primary resource for information and assisting in the promotion of manufacturing excellence.

For more information about the program, contact the Chamber or MAST at 484-1101 or 366-6200.

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