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New York Expands Sexual Harassment Laws

Changes have been made to New York’s sexual harassment laws.  Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill.  In addition to the changes listed below, the proposed changes will additionally expand the arbitration clause prohibition, increase punitive damages and attorney’s fees, and expand the non-disclosure prohibition. Click here to view the bill.

Severe and Pervasive Standard: The “severe and pervasive standard” has been removed.  Harassment no longer needs to rise to the level where it is severe and/or pervasive to be unlawful.  This law will go into effect 60 days after enactment. 

Internal Procedures Defense: Employers will now be liable for a supervisor’s actions even if the employee did not use the employer’s established internal complaint procedures.

Expanded Protections for Non-Employees: Non-employees will additionally be protected from all forms of discrimination, no longer just sexual harassment.

Statute of Limitations:  The statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims has been extended from one year to three years.

Policy Distribution:  Employers will now be required to distribute their compliant sexual harassment policy to all new hires, and to all employees annually, at the time of the annual sexual harassment training. 

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.