Legal Alert

Delaware Expands Protections Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

August 31, 2018

On August 29, 2018, Delaware Governor John Carney, signed into law House Bill 360, expanding sexual harassment protections for workers. The new law will take effect January 1, 2019.

The new law broadens the categories of workers covered by the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act's sexual harassment provisions to include job applicants, joint employees, apprentices, unpaid interns, individuals who work for employment agencies, and state employees. The law also requires the Delaware Department of Labor to create an informational sheet on sexual harassment that employers will be required to distribute to employees. These portions of the law apply to any employer with four or more employees in Delaware.

Additionally, employers with 50 or more employees in the state must provide interactive sexual harassment training every two years. New employees must be provided training within a year after hire or within a year of being promoted to a supervisory position. Current employees must receive training in 2019.

Significantly, the new statute defines sexual harassment more broadly than the federal standard. Under the Delaware law, sexual harassment is unlawful if challenged conduct "creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment." This language arguably encompasses more behavior than the "severe or pervasive" requirement applicable under federal law and could provide Delaware employees even greater protection.

This law comes as many other states have passed or are considering additional legislation aimed at curtailing sexual harassment in the workplace. For example, with Delaware's action,, sexual harassment training now is required in five states: Delaware, New York, California, Maine, and Connecticut, with a similar requirement pending in the Pennsylvania legislature.

Delaware employers should act now to prepare for compliance, as this new law will go into effect in just a few months. Contact Ballard Spahr for assistance reviewing anti-harassment policies and procedures or to receive guidance on developing an interactive anti-sexual harassment training that complies with the new law’s requirements.

Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment Group routinely assists employers in navigating workplace harassment issues, including advising on all aspects of a robust compliance program, from policy drafting and revision to preparation of and conducting annual trainings. The Labor and Employment Group will continue to monitor local and state law updates.

Copyright © 2018 by Ballard Spahr LLP.
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author and publisher.

This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

Subscribe to Ballard Spahr Mailing Lists

Get the latest significant legal alerts, news, webinars, and insights that affect your industry.