Recently, New York enacted new anti-sexual harassment legislation concerning sexual harassment in the workplace. The law imposes several new requirements on New York employers. Below is a summary of the key requirements of the law and the dates such requirements become effective.
- Expanded Coverage for Sexual Harassment Claims—Effective Immediately—The law extends the protections under New York’s sexual harassment law to non-employees including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or other persons providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace and their respective employees.
- Mandatory Arbitration—Effective Immediately—The law prohibits contractual provisions that require arbitration for any allegations or claims of sexual harassment.
- Non-Disclosure Agreements—Effective Immediately—Employers are prohibited from including in any agreement or settlement of any sexual harassment claim any provision that would prevent the disclosure of the underlying facts and circumstances to the claim or action unless the condition of confidentiality is the complainant’s preference. The complainant will have 21 days to consider the confidentiality provision. If after 21 days the complainant prefers to keep the condition, then the agreement may be signed. After the agreement is signed, the complainant must be permitted to have a full 7 days to revoke the agreement.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy—Effective October 9, 2018—All employers are required to adopt a written sexual harassment prevention policy. The New York Department of Labor (“DOL”) is developing a model policy that employers may use to satisfy this requirement and has released a draft version which can be viewed here. Employers may comment on the draft on or before September 12, 2018, by visiting the New York State website. Employers may use the model policy or develop their own policy that satisfies the requirements specified in the law. This will require an update of your existing sexual harassment prevention policies to ensure compliance with the new law.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program—Effective October 9, 2018—All employers are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis. The DOL is developing a model training program that employers may use to satisfy this requirement and has released a draft version which can be viewed here. Employers may comment on the draft on or before September 12, 2018, by visiting the New York State website. Employers may use the model training program or develop their own program that satisfies the requirements specified in the law.
We encourage employers located in New York State to review their anti-harassment policies to ensure they comply with the new law and prepare to implement training programs to comply with the new requirements. Please contact us if you would like assistance in implementing practical solutions to ensure compliance with these requirements.