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New York State Passes Legislation Requiring Employers to Provide Greater Protections Against Sexual Harassment

Effective immediately, the legislation expands protections against sexual harassment under the NYS Human Rights law to non-employees including independent contractors and subcontractors.

Effective July 11, 2018, prohibitions on the use of nondisclosure clauses in settlements or agreements relating to claims of sexual harassment, unless the condition of confidentiality is the preference of the complainant, as well as prohibitions on mandatory arbitration clauses for claims of workplace sexual harassment.

Effective October 9, 2018, all employers in New York must adopt a sexual harassment policy and training program that meet certain standards. Mandatory distribution of written anti-harassment policies in the workplace and annual anti-harassment training for all employees, both based on models to be developed and published by the New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights.  Interactive trainings for new hires as well as annually.

Press release and details regarding the new requirements can be found on the New York State Senate website at: www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/catharine-young/2018-19-state-budget-includes-landmark-sexual-harassment-law

Additionally, employers with workers in New York City should be aware of the recently enacted Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act which includes a separate requirement for employers with 15 or more employees to provide annual interactive workplace harassment prevention training for all employees, including interns, as of April 1, 2019. Additional information will be available soon on the NYC Human Rights Commission website.

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