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New York’s Free and Confidential Hotline Will Provide Legal Advice to Individuals Experiencing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

On July 19, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a statewide hotline, 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773), for issues of workplace sexual harassment. The confidential hotline will be operated by the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) and will connect workers who have faced sexual harassment with experienced pro-bono attorneys to advise them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

In March, Governor Hochul signed legislation directing the DHR to implement this hotline, as well as strengthening protections against retaliation for victims of discrimination and making explicit that all public employers are subject to the Human Rights Law. This initiative will provide workers with free guidance to help them deal with the complex issues of sexual harassment.

Next Steps for Employers

In addition to the release of the hotline’s phone number, the NY DOL is expected to provide information on the hotline and updates to any materials that employers are required to post or provide to employees about sexual harassment. Once the updated materials are made available, it is expected that employers will need to update their non-harassment and/or sexual harassment policies to ensure that it includes reference to this hotline. However, at the time of this post, the materials on the state’s “Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” webpage have not yet been updated.

In addition, the law’s enactment should serve as reminder to all NY employers to continue to ensure that they are providing annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees in accordance with the state’s law; new hires should continue to receive training as soon as possible.

HR Works will continue to monitor this topic and provide updated information once it is available.

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.