Recently, the New York City Council passed a comprehensive package of legislation that aims to combat and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace called the Stop Sexual Harassment Act. The Act seeks to amend the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), as well as the New York City Charter. The Stop Sexual Harassment Act is currently with Mayor Bill de Blasio who is expected to sign the bill into law.
Expansion of Scope of the NYC Human Rights Law
Upon the signing of the Stop Sexual Harassment Act into law, the changes listed below are effective immediately.
The scope of the NYCHRL, as it applies to gender-based harassment claims, will expand to cover all employers, regardless of size.
The NYCHRL will be amended to include a statement that declares that gender-based harassment can threaten the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
The statute of limitations for filing a gender-based harassment claim under the NYCHRL is extended from one year to three years.
Sexual Harassment Informational Signage
Effective 120 days after the Stop Sexual Harassment Act is signed into law, all employers must display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster. Employers are also required to distribute an information sheet on sexual harassment. The poster and information sheet will be available through the New York City Commission website.
Mandatory Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
Effective April 1, 2019, New York City employers with 15 or more employees, including interns, must provide mandatory, interactive anti-sexual harassment training for all staff members annually, including supervisors and managers. For new employees, the training will be required 90 days after they are hired if they work more than 80 hours in the calendar, regardless if they are a part-time or full-time employee.
According to Lexology, a sexual harassment prevention training program must cover the following topics:
- An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under city, state and federal law;
- A description of sexual harassment and use of examples;
- The employer’s internal complaint process for staff members to address sexual harassment claims;
- The NYC Commission on Human Rights, the NYS Division of Human Rights, the EEOC sexual harassment complaint process and contact information;
- A prohibition of retaliatory acts and use of examples (i.e. demotion, termination); and
- Information concerning bystander intervention, including, but not limited to, resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention.
In addition, supervisors and managers are to receive training on their specific responsibilities to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace. They should also receive training on how to properly address sexual harassment claims.
The federal, state, and local laws and regulations surrounding New York City employment practices are ever-changing. When seeking guidance on how to navigate New York State and New York City employment laws, it is important that New York City employers and business owners consult an experienced New York employment law attorney.
If you are an employee who believes that you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace or have been wrongfully terminated, it is important to consult the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer. A New York employment lawyer can review your claim and advise you of your legal rights and remedies. Call New York employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” at (917) 371-8000 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.