On April 12, 2018, New York State passed a new budget bill that includes measures designed to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
Key highlights of the legislation applicable to employers are as follows:
- Effective October 9, 2018: Employers must implement a sexual harassment policy and provide employees with written copies. The New York State Department of Labor will create a model policy, which employers may adopt. Alternatively, employers may create their own comparable policies.
- Effective October 9, 2018: Employers must conduct annual anti-sexual harassment interactive training for employees. The New York State Department of Labor will create a model training program, which employers may adopt. Alternatively, employers may create their own comparable training program.
- Effective immediately: Employers may be liable to non-employees, e.g., contractors, vendors, consultants, with respect to sexual harassment in the workplace, where the employer knew or should have known of the harassment, but failed to take the appropriate corrective action.
- Effective July 11, 2018: Contractual provisions that mandate arbitration of sexual harassment claims are void.
- Effective July 11, 2018: Employers are restricted from using non-disclosure provisions in agreements that resolve sexual harassment claims. Such clauses may only be enforceable when they are added at the complainant’s request.
- Effective January 1, 2019: a party seeking to submit a bid for services or work to a public entity must certify that it has implemented a written anti-sexual harassment policy and provides annual training addressing sexual harassment.
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