Employer Guidance: What to Know About New Workplace Discrimination Laws in New York

A new law in New York strengthens employee protections companies of all sizes need to comply with.

8/15/2019 10:30 AM

Employer Guidance: What to Know About New Workplace Discrimination Laws in New York

The state of New York recently passed an expanded workplace discrimination law, meaning employers need to take note of the various compliance standards in effect this year and in 2020.

ACA International member firm Arent Fox LLP in Boston provides an overview of the changes in an article titled, “A Sweeping Overhaul: An Employer’s Guide to the Latest Expansion of New York State’s Discrimination Laws.”

“Overall, these changes move NYS discrimination laws away from federal standards and closer to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), which is nationally recognized for its friendliness to employees,” writes firm partner Temitope K. Yusuf in the article.

Effective immediately, employers are required to provide each employee a copy of the company’s sexual harassment policy and information presented at sexual harassment training sessions.

All employers, of any company size, are required to comply with the NYCHRL by Feb. 8, 2020, Yusuf reports. Currently, the law only applies to companies with four or more employees.

An extended statute of limitations, from one year to three years, to file complaints for sexual harassment is now in effect.

Effective in October, employers will not be allowed to require an employee to sign an agreement “that mandates binding arbitration for sexual harassment and discrimination-based claims,” Yusuf reports.

In tips for employees, Yusuf recommends companies review their harassment policies and terminology defining harassment to “certify that the policies do not limit harassment to “severe or pervasive conduct.”

Check notices posted throughout the office of these policies to confirm they contain requirements in the new law and modify your annual training programs. In addition to completing a review of your current practices, companies should work with counsel to ensure compliance with the new requirements.

Read more on the new workplace requirements here.

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