By Rachel H. Khedouri, Esq.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In New York – which ranks fourth in the country for prevalence of human trafficking – Governor Hochul has signed a package of eight new laws in connection with the State’s efforts to prevent human trafficking and provide support and resources for victims. For certain companies involved in hospitality and transportation services in New York, this new legislation imposes employee training and notice requirements. Here are some important points for these employers:
- For inns, hotels, motels, motor courts or other transient lodging: All lodging facilities must conduct training for any employee who is likely to interact with or come into contact with guests. Although the training requirements go into effect on July 30, 2023, there is a grace period to November 20, 2023, for employers to train all current employees. Employers must train all new employees within the first 60 days of employment. The State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, in consultation with the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking (the “Task Force”), are charged with making available a list of approved training programs. The programs must include, at minimum, the nature of human trafficking, how human trafficking is defined in law, how to identify victims, and who to contact. Training can be conducted in person or online but must take place on the premises of the lodging facility and employees must be paid for the training time. The employer must maintain a record for each covered employee that the training was completed and keep the record on file during the individual’s period of employment and for one year following termination.
- For all businesses required to conduct alcohol training awareness programs: Any employer that is required to provide New York State Liquor Authority-certified Alcohol Training Awareness Programs (“ATAPs”) to their staff in order to sell alcoholic beverages should be aware that the new law requires that the training curriculum include a human trafficking component. Any entity that provides ATAPs will not have their programs certified (or will lose existing certification) if they do not include the human trafficking awareness component as developed by the State Liquor Authority in conjunction with the Task Force.
- For all adult entertainment establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises: All such establishments must conspicuously display a bilingual notice of information on human trafficking and the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Failure to comply with the posting requirement will lead to fines of up to $100 per day.
- For truck stop, airport and other transportation businesses: The new laws require posting of information (informational cards and/or signs) on services for trafficking victims and the National Human Trafficking Hotline number in truck stop, commercial service and general aviation airport, Transit Authority and Port Authority airport and bus terminal public restrooms.
We anticipate that the State will update its human trafficking awareness posters and brochures in connection with the new legislation; the current versions of these materials are available in various languages from the New York State Department of Labor website HERE.
If you have any questions relating to these new requirements, please feel free to reach out to the NFC Attorney with whom you typically work or call us at 973.665.9100.