This blog was written by Barbara E. Hoey and originally posted on Kelley Drye’s Labor Days Blog.
On April 12, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York State budget bill, which makes some big changes in the obligations of New York employers relative to sexual harassment.
The new law has both immediate and rolling implications for all New York employers.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY (I.E., RIGHT NOW)
The New York State Human Rights law now extends protections to certain non-employees, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract.
This means that employers may now be held liable for the sexual harassment of non-employees if the employer, its agents, or supervisors knew or should have known that the non-employee was subjected to sexual harassment and the employer failed to take appropriate corrective action.
This is a significant change in the law and employers should make sure that Human Resources and managers are aware of it.
July 11, 2018: No NDA’s and No Mandatory Arbitration – New York employers will be prohibited from using nondisclosure clauses in harassment settlements, unless the complainant prefers that the settlement be confidential. Like the OWBPA, the agreements must also give the complainant 21 days to consider signing, and 7 days to revoke.
New York employers may not require mandatory arbitration of claims of workplace sexual harassment, to the extent this is “not inconsistent with federal law.”
October 9, 2018: Mandatory Training Provision Roll Out – Employers must distribute written anti-harassment policies in the workplace; and Employers must conduct annual anti-harassment training for all employees, based on models to be developed and published by the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Division of Human Rights.
The model training must include: (1) an explanation of sexual harassment; (2) examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment; (3) information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims; and (4) information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints. The training must also include information addressing the conduct and additional responsibilities for supervisory personnel.
January 1, 2019: Government Contractor Affirmation – Employers who wish to bid on certain state contracts will be required to affirm that the employer has implemented a written policy addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and that it provides annual sexual harassment prevention training to all of its employees. Continue Reading