ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State has finalized a new sexual harassment prevention training for state workers. The law requires sexual harassment prevention training to be updated every five years, something New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon supports.

“I’m really glad they put that in because think about how the world has changed in 5 years. It’s really amazing. The pandemic for instance, altered life for so many over the past few years. People were forced to work from home, some continuing to do so.

“You can definitely be sexually harassed from home,” explained Reardon. “Think about phone calls, texts, emails, social media postings. All of that could be determined to be sexual harassment.”

But that’s not the only change made to the training.

“If you discriminate against somebody and gender identity, that’s sexual harassment. So we have a lot of information about that. And we want to make sure that everybody understands what their part is in this. If you’re a bystander, there is a whole section in the training about what bystanders can do to assist somebody who is being harassed. It goes all the way from distracting that person and taking them out of the situation, all the way to actually intervening. It also reinforces that what we say has consequences, even if we don’t realize it.”

“It gets rid of the grey area. You know a lot of times people do the training and they go, oh I didn’t realize… I was just joking. But that joke can actually be really offensive to some people so it’s making people aware of circumstances aware of other people’s feelings and it’s just a better way for all of us to interact.”

The new video is available online for everyone to use as a resource.