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Total Articles: 14

New York State's New Sexual Harassment Laws: What Employers Need to Know

Executive Summary: In the fiscal year 2019 budget, the New York State Legislature passed several new laws aimed at preventing workplace sexual harassment, including banning mandatory arbitration and requiring anti-harassment policies and training. These new laws, a response to the larger social conversation regarding sexual harassment, pass even more potential liability on to private employers and will require substantial changes to policies and practices.

New York Passes New Anti-Sexual Harassment Laws

New York employers must comply with several new anti-sexual harassment laws that were included in the state budget signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 12. The provisions range from requiring employers to hold annual training to prevent sexual harassment, and prohibiting the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment settlements, to eliminating mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment claims and extending the state's human rights law to cover certain non-employees who work under contract. The provisions have various effective dates:

New York Legislature Passes Significant Changes to Laws Combatting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

As part of the 2018-2019 New York State Budget, the Governor and the Legislature have agreed to legislation aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace (Part KK of S7507-C). The legislation, including the anti-sexual harassment provisions, has passed both the Senate and Assembly, and the Governor is expect to be signed it into law soon.

New York State Moves One Step Closer to Changes to Sexual Harassment Laws

On March 12, 2018, the New York State Senate passed a bill aimed at strengthening and reforming the state sexual harassment laws. The legislation comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement and mirrors much of what Governor Cuomo proposed in his January State of the State Address, including a ban on confidential settlements and mandatory arbitration clauses. If ultimately enacted into law, the legislation will significantly impact both public and private employers in New York.

Expect Changes To New York Sexual Harassment Laws In 2018

Following national attention on the #metoo movement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans as part of his State of the State address earlier this month to strengthen New York’s laws on sexual harassment in the workplace, an effort that he called a “long overdue reckoning.” Governor Cuomo unveiled a multi-pronged agenda, including several legislative initiatives that he intends to advance, which he hopes will impact both public and private employers.

New York Governor Signs Executive Orders To Address Wage Gap

On January 9, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued two executive orders aimed at addressing the perceived gender, race, and ethnicity-based wage gaps. Noting that the state government must lead by example and ensure equal pay for all New Yorkers, the two executive orders – which Governor Cuomo signed as part of his 2017 State of the State address – prevent state entities from asking job applicants about their compensation history and require state contractors to disclose data on the gender, race, ethnicity, job title, and salary of their employees.

New York State and New York City Guidance Focus Transgender Discrimination

New York State and New York City have issued expansive new guidelines to protect the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

Understanding New York Regulations Regarding Prohibited Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity, Transgender Status, or Gender Dysphoria

New York State and New York City both recently enacted regulations and enforcement guidance designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, gender expression and gender dysphoria.1 Both have now taken effect.

New York Expands Protections for Women with Passage of Women's Equality Act

On October 21, 2015, Governor Cuomo signed into law five bills that will provide greater protection for women in the workplace. These bills, which are part of the Women's Equality Act, strengthen New York's equal pay statute, expand protection for victims of sexual harassment, provide for recovery of attorneys' fees in employment discrimination cases where sex is the basis of discrimination, prohibit discrimination based on familial status, and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. All of these new laws will take effect on January 19, 2016.

New York Expands Discrimination Protections Against Workplace Gender Bias

On October 21, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a number of bills, which cumulatively expand protections against gender discrimination, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking. This comprehensive legislation, which grew out of the governor’s call for a 10-point “Women’s Equality Agenda” in his 2013 State of the State Address, consists of eight discrete bills. Five of the newly signed bills are of particular importance to employers in that they seek to achieve greater pay equity for women; expand coverage of sexual harassment protections to the smallest employers and significantly increase remedies available under state sex discrimination law; prohibit discrimination based on family status; and mandate employers of pregnant employees to provide certain reasonable accommodations. In introducing the sweeping legislation, Cuomo stated, “This State has a legacy of leading the way in advancing equal rights – and today, we are making New York a model of equality for women.” According to Senator Catherine Young, “New York State has always been the ‘State of Opportunity,’ and with these new laws will ensure that opportunities are protected for women just as much as they are for men.”

New York Enacts Gender Equity Laws

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a number of bills intended to protect and advance women’s equality, particularly in the workplace. These laws, signed on October 21, will go into effect on January 19, 2016.

New York Expands Sex, Gender Identity Discrimination Protections

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a number of bills that expand current protections regarding employment discrimination and pay equity and has issued regulations addressing gender identity discrimination protections. The bills were part of the expansive Women's Equality Act, although not all pieces of legislation as originally proposed were signed into law. In a press release, the Governor's Office stated that the regulations mark the "first time that any Governor has issued statewide regulations to prohibit harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status or gender dysphoria."

NYC Employers Have New Obligations Toward Pregnant and Recently Pregnant Employees

After a unanimous vote by the New York City Council and approval by Mayor Bloomberg, most employers in New York City must reasonably accommodate an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. The new law goes into effect January 30, 2014, and applies to employers with four or more employees.

New York’s Marriage Equality Act and its Effect on Welfare and Pension Benefits

In June 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law, making New York the sixth state to permit same-sex couples to marry. The law became effective on July 24, 2011.