Legislators in New York just passed a host of new laws targeting workplace harassment and discrimination, and employers have only a few months to catch up.
Hmm… Anyone else feeling an acute sense of déjà vu?
No, this isn’t a blog post from 2018. Last year, as you may remember, New York enacted a historic set of anti-harassment regulations, fundamentally changing how many employers do business. The new standards were (at the time) the strictest of any state in the country. Companies of all sizes in New York would be required to establish sexual harassment prevention policies, provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training, and have everything in place by October 9th—less than 6 months after the rules were signed into law.
Now, apparently taking a page from the Fast and Furious franchise, the Empire State is at it again, with an even bigger scope and shorter deadlines than last time.
The news comes to us from our friends and colleagues at Fisher Phillips. In a recent Legal Alert on their blog, they write:
“Still grappling with the expansive sexual harassment reforms passed last year, New York businesses and employers will soon need to manage through yet another expansive suite of amendments that will continue the state’s ongoing implementation of stronger, and more burdensome, antiharassment and antidiscrimination laws. On the last day of its legislative session, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed sweeping reforms meant to overhaul the state’s antidiscrimination laws. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who advocates for more robust workplace harassment laws, is expected to sign the bill without delay. Once enacted, the amendments will impact every workplace in New York.”
According to the attorneys, the new laws…
- expand New York State Human Rights Law coverage to small employers,
- lower the standard for harassment claims,
- extend harassment protections to non-employees,
- provide additional damages for successful claimants of employment harassment,
- prohibit confidential statements and mandatory arbitration agreements,
- expand sexual harassment training and policy requirements,
- extend the statute of limitations,
- require employers to regularly update their model policy and training materials.
As we mentioned above, the deadlines are fast (and furiously) approaching—several of these provisions will take effect just 60 days after the bill is enacted.
Read “New York Lawmakers Pass Game-Changing Reforms to State Discrimination Laws.”
We’ll be sure to publish any further updates about New York’s new anti-harassment and anti-discrimination here on the KPA blog. In the meantime, if you need guidance or assistance in complying with these new laws, please contact us.
KPA is a leading provider of HR software solutions designed to streamline and automate workforce management. Our solutions are equipt to help your organization train employees, tackle complance issues, with either online or on call HR support.