New York State and New York City Sexual Harassment Laws to Take Effect
In April we reviewed the newly enacted New York State and New York City sexual harassment laws that were coming into effect later in the year. As New York State and New York City publish guidance on these new laws, it is a good time for employers to review their policies to ensure they are compliant with their new obligations.
Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act Taking Effect on September 6
On May 9, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. This new law expands sexual harassment protections under the New York City Human Rights Law by applying provisions related to gender-based discrimination to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. It also increases the statute of limitations for filing harassment claims from one year to three years from the time that the alleged harassment occurred.
New Notice and Training Requirements for Employers
- Effective September 6, 2018, all employers are required to display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities notices in both English and Spanish. All employers are also required to distribute a fact sheet to individual employees at the time of hire. A copy of the fact sheet is available here.
- Effective April 1, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees.
New York State Sexual Harassment Prevention Law Taking Effect on October 9
On April 12, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new sexual harassment prevention law. The new law limits confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements, precludes the arbitration of sexual harassment claims, expands coverage of sexual harassment laws to contractors, vendors, and consultants, and requires employers to adopt sexual harassment prevention policies and conduct annual training on such policies.
Templates for New Policy and Training Materials Released by New York State
- Effective October 9, 2018, New York State employers are required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy that equals or exceeds the minimum standards set out in a model policy to be promulgated by the State. Employers also are required to conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees based on that policy. On Thursday, August 23, the State published drafts of minimum standards, a model policy, a model complaint form, and model training materials. Copies of these draft standards and templates are available here. Although these drafts will not become final until the comment period closes on September 12, 2018, given that the law will become effective on October 9, employers would be well served to review these drafts now to determine whether they need to update their existing policies and training materials. We will continue to follow up with the State and will issue another alert once the State authored standards and templates are made final, highlighting any changes to the drafts released last week.
For questions about how to comply with the new sexual harassment prevention laws, contact labor and employment partner Robert J. Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 705-9814.