New Sex Harassment Laws Passed by State of New York

Monday, May 21, 2018

On April 12, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s 2018-2019 budget bill, S-7848A, which includes important changes to the state’s sexual harassment law. These changes include:

  • Prohibition of mandatory arbitration clauses concerning claims of sexual harassment.
  • Prohibition of nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment settlements.
  • The State of New York will create a model harassment policy that must be used by employers.  This must be distributed by October 9, 2018.
  • The State will create a model training program that must be taken by all employees annually. The program will be interactive and include: an explanation of sexual harassment; examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment; information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; information concerning employees' rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaint; and information concerning conduct by and responsibilities of supervisors. Every employer must use the model program or establish a similar one that equals or exceeds the model’s minimum standards.  Employers are required to start the training by October 9, 2018.
  • The new law also prohibits harassment of non-employees such as contractors.
  • State contractors must include a certification that the bidder has implemented a written sexual harassment policy and that it provides annual sexual harassment training to all of its employees.

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