Main Menu
Legal Alert

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

3.20.18

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.  

The Senate’s bill effortlessly passed its first hurdle, with a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate of 56-2. Next up, the bill will be delivered to the Democratic-controlled Assembly. Should the bill pass muster at the Assembly, it will move to Governor Cuomo, who will either sign it into law or veto it. Given Governor Cuomo’s previously announced multi-pronged agenda aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace, it is likely he will be in strong favor of the legislation.

What does the legislation entail?

The Senate’s legislative package encompasses a multitude of measures aimed at reforming the state’s sexual harassment laws, in both the public and private sector. Specifically, the Senate’s bill includes the following:

What Should New York Employers Do Now?

The Senate’s bill still faces hurdles before becoming law, but the overwhelming support for the bill on both sides of the aisle reaffirms Fisher's prediction that substantive changes to the State’s sexual harassment policies are imminent. This is, of course, in addition to potential legislative efforts on the federal and local level.

Although employers need not revamp their policies and procedures just yet, employers are advised to take stock of their current harassment policies to ensure compliance with existing laws. A good place to start might be following our firm’s five-step plan to address growing harassment concerns, which can be found here. Additionally, employers should stay abreast of all the federal, state and local legislative initiatives aimed to strengthen sexual harassment laws. We will continue to keep you informed of this bill’s progression through the legislative process, as well as any other legislation that gains traction.

Attorneys

Back to Page