The effect of allegations of sexual harassment being brought to the center stage has rippled beyond courtrooms, into peoples’ homes, workplace, and now legislation. Starting on October 9th, all employers in New York state will be required to have a Sexual Harassment prevention policy that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements set by the law. A written or electronic copy of the policy and annual training must also be submitted to all employees.
Below you will find some of the other provisions of the updated sexual harassment law as outlined by Governor Cuomo:
“All state contractors must submit an affirmation that they have a sexual harassment policy and that they have trained all of their employees.”
Contractors must submit this by January, 2019.
“Prohibit employers from using a mandatory arbitration provision in an employment contract in relation to sexual harassment.”
Beginning in effect on July 11, 2018, employers are no longer allowed to include provisions that prohibit employees from seeking legal action first, when it comes to sexual harassment. Beforehand, when a mandatory arbitration provision was included, employees had to try to settle with the employer before seeking legal counsel.
“Ensure that non disclosure agreements can only be used when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim”
A victim will no longer be prevented from discussing the ‘underlying facts and circumstances’ when it comes to sexual harassment.
“Amend the law to protect contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace”
All workers in a working environment are now protected from sexual harassment under the new law, whether or not they are employees. For example, if an individual is hired by a temp agency to clean an office, the employers at said office are also responsible for ensuring that that individual is in a sexual-harassment free environment. In the same vein, if an employee believes they are being sexual harassed by an outside contractor, they are to report it both to the outside agency that hired the contractor and their employer. An employer is required to take action on the complaint that an employee may have, regardless of who the harasser is.