On April 2018, New York state enacted an anti-sexual harassment law that, among other things:
(1) requires all employers in New York, regardless of size, to implement anti-sexual harassment policies and to conduct annual anti-harassment training that complies with minimum standards set forth in the statute (§201-g of the Labor Law);
(2) bans pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration of sexual harassment claims “except where inconsistent with federal law” and
(3) requires confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements resolving sexual harassment claims to be at the “complainant’s preference” and sets forth procedural requirements for compliance with the statute’s requirement.
Six months later, the New York State Department of Labor issued guidance, including model documents and Frequently Asked Questions, to assist employers in complying with the new statutory requirements.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday signed 11 bills that aim to bolster protections against sexual harassment — both for municipal and private employees.
The measures triple the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with city government from one to three years and mandate that city agencies publicly report each complaint received.
Additionally, private firms with 15 or more employees must now provide anti-sexual-harassment training annually, de Blasio said.
“The offhand offensive remark or innuendo, the joke masking as micro-aggression, and the unwanted contact . . . today we are saying that we as a city will no longer let it slide, we will no longer let it stand,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who sponsored one of the bills.
“This is about setting a positive example for everyone.”
City Hall recently revealed that municipal workers filed 1,425 complaints of sexual harassment between July 2013 and December 2017, of which 221 were substantiated.
In response to questions from reporters, the Mayor’s Office has promised it would reveal how workers were disciplined in the substantiated cases — but it has yet to do so.
De Blasio came under fire last month for questioning whether the reports were legitimate, blaming the 471 at the Department of Education on a “hyper-complaint dynamic” at the agency.