NY Employers Must Strengthen Anti-Harassment Policies and Enforcement

Tip of the Month - Employment and Labor Law

Pursuant to recently passed and newly amended legislation, sexual harassment laws in both New York State and New York City will now impose on covered employers substantial new compliance obligations. Specifically, among other requirements, under New York State’s updated law, effective Oct. 9, 2018, all employees must receive annual anti-harassment training and must be provided with a written anti-harassment policy. Employers must also develop a “standard complaint form” to facilitate employees’ ability to lodge harassment claims and, subject to certain exceptions, as of July 11, 2018, employers may no longer require employees to arbitrate state-law sexual harassment claims. Notably, in addition to protecting employees against unlawful harassment, New York State law now applies to harassment relative to contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and other nonemployees in the workplace. To a substantial degree, New York City’s corresponding Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act echoes the requirements of New York State’s new harassment laws, while also requiring, among other things, that, effective Sept. 6, 2018, employers must post and provide to employees an anti-harassment notice promulgated by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Practically speaking, the foregoing developments require that employers promptly revisit and, in many instances, revamp their full suite of sexual harassment prevention policies and procedures, including updating existing employee handbooks, revising employment and arbitration agreements, and taking steps to ensure that all mandatory training is, in fact, provided to both supervisory and nonsupervisory employees.

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pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

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