New legislation signed by Governor Cuomo on April 12, 2018, expands sexual harassment laws and criteria in New York State.
Some of the main points of the New Legislation include:
- Mandatory annual sexual harassment training
- Although many organizations do provide sexual harassment training, many do not perform them on an annual basis. This will now be mandatory.
- Mandatory anti-sexual harassment policy
- Employers will now be required to establish and provide a written sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees. It is also now mandatory for that policy to be equal to or exceed minimum standards, consistent with a model policy created by the New York Department of Labor (DOL) and the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR).
- Mandatory arbitration is now prohibited
- Mandatory arbitration clauses are common among employers in order to force sexual harassment victims into private arbitration proceedings, which impedes their ability to seek legal action.
- Protection of non-employees in the workplace
- Prior to this new legislation, individuals who are present in the workplace on a contract basis, who are not employees, could not file complaints against their harassers. The new legislation now extends contracted workers the same rights under the law as those who are directly employed by the company or entity. Employers will now be held liable if a non-employee was subject to harassment in their place of business.
- Limitation of non-disclosure agreements
- An amendment to the General Obligations Law, a new provision has been added which limits employers from including certain confidentiality provisions in their settlement agreements, or other agreements resolving sexual harassment claims, preventing the victim from disclosing facts and circumstances of the claim.
The Deadline to implement these changes, and other changes of the law, in your organization is July 11, 2018.