New York’s FY 2019 Executive Budget includes new legislation aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the Governor, the legislation purports to be the “most comprehensive anti-sexual harassment protections in the nation….” Here are the highlights:
- Effective Immediately: The new legislation prohibits sexual harassment of “non-employees in the employer’s workplace,” including “contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or other persons providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace or who is an employee of such contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant or other person providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace. July 11, 2018: Any settlement, agreement or other resolution directly relating to sexual harassment claims may not include language that prevents the disclosure of the underlying facts unless the plaintiff (1) has been given 21 days to consider the confidentiality/non-disclosure provision and 7 days to revoke the agreement after signing.
- Effective July 11, 2018: Mandatory arbitration agreements with respect to sexual harassment claims will no longer be enforceable and shall be deemed null and void. Worth noting, mandatory arbitration agreements that include sexual harassment disputes remain enforceable with respect to all other claims.
- Effective October 9, 2018: Employers must establish a sexual harassment prevention policy and conduct annual interactive sexual harassment training. The Department of Labor has been charged with consulting with the Division of Human Rights and producing a model training program. The new rules also mandate written sexual harassment policies that include a standard complaint form, examples of prohibited conduct, and a procedure for timely investigations
Going Forward . . . Watch for information on the Department of Labor’s model sexual harassment prevention policy and training program as well as Farrell Fritz’s Master Class for those responsible for sexual harassment training initiatives!
If you have questions concerning the development or implementation of these new employer obligations, contact Domenique Camacho Moran, Farrell Fritz’s Labor and Employment Practice Group at 516.227.0626 or dmoran@FarrellFritz.com.