THE “NEED-TO-KNOW” ON NEW YORK’S NEW SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWS
In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, New York state and New York city have passed new laws aimed at combating sexual harassment. Each of the laws applies to every employer, regardless of their number of employees. If you are an employee in the state or the city, here are a few points you from the new sexual harassment laws you should know:
NOTIFICATION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY:
By September 6, 2018, New York City employers must notify their employees of their sexual harassment policy by displaying a poster about anti-harassment rights and responsibilities. The poster, which is designed by the NYC Commission on Human Rights, must be displayed in both English and Spanish. The new laws also require NYC employers to distribute a fact sheet about sexual harassment to all current employees and new hires.
Additionally, by October 9th, employers in New York state must also have a written sexual harassment policy and distribute it to its current employees and new hires. Per the new laws, the policy must:
a) Prohibit sexual harassment and give examples of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment;
b) Include information regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
c) Include a standard complaint form;
d) Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints and ensure due process for all parties;
e) Inform employees of their rights and redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
f) Clearly state that sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct;
g) Clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceeding under the law is unlawful.
MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING:
Also beginning on October 9, 2018, all New York state employers must provide employees with sexual harassment training. The training must be given annually. New York City employers with 15 or more employees must provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to full- time employees, part-time employees, and interns within ninety (90) days of their hire.
REGULATION OF NON- DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS:
Beginning back in July, non-disclosure agreements in New York state cannot include non- disclosure provisions unless the condition of confidentiality is the employee’s preference. To consider settlement agreements, employees must be given 21 days to decide whether they prefer the agreement contain a non- disclosure provision. Additionally, the new state law says that most new employment contracts cannot require employees to submit to mandatory arbitration to resolve allegations of sexual harassment.
The new state legislation also extends sexual harassment protections to non-employees in the workplace. Non-employees include contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or other contract service providers. An employer may be liable when if they knew or should have known the non- employee was subjected to sexual harassment and failed to take immediate corrective action.
If you are an employee in New York State or New York City, you are protected under these new laws beginning on the dates the laws go into effect. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, feel free to contact one of our experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. The New York City discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Working together with our Philadelphia and Miami discrimination attorneys, the Derek Smith Law Group has received millions of dollars on behalf of our clients who are the victims of discrimination or survivors of sexual harassment. If you feel you have been subject to unlawful misconduct in the workplace, please give our talented attorneys a call, toll-free at 1-877-469-5297, for your free consultation.