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Key takeaways from new sexual harassment legislation in NY

Employment Law

Last month, Governor Cuomo signed new legislation to expand workplace protections against sexual harassment. This legislation represents another major change coming in the wake of related legislation passed in 2018. Some of the new provisions from August include extending the statute of limitations for employment sexual harassment claims from one to three years, a prohibition on mandatory arbitration for harassment claims, and an expansion of protected classes. Additionally, non-disclosure agreements signed in the employment context must contain language permitting employees to file complaints for harassment or discrimination. [1]

These and other provisions in the new legislation mean that New York’s sexual harassment law has changed significantly over a short period of time. Of course, these extensive changes have yet to be interpreted by New York’s courts. However, both employers and employees should keep in mind that New York now arguably has the strongest statutory protections against sexual harassment in the nation–with new forms of workplace behavior prohibited and new scope for harassment complaints and lawsuits. [2]

[1] Spector, J. (August 2019) Workplace harassment protections: 10 new changes to New York law from Democrat & Chronicle https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2019/08/12/workplace-harassment-protections-10-new-changes-new-york-law/1986772001/ Accessed September 4 2019

[2] Woliver, K. and Herz, L. (July 2019) Employers Prepare: New York Continues to Revamp Workplace Harassment Law (US) from The National Law Review https://www.natlawreview.com/article/employers-prepare-new-york-continues-to-revamp-workplace-harassment-law-us accessed September 4 2019

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