New York City Passes New Law on Sexual Harassment

By Douglas Lipsky

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, on May 9, 2018, signed into law the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. This law is a part of a larger package of bills with the goal of stopping sexual harassment in the workplace.

Some parts of the Act take effect immediately, while others phase in over time.

Immediate changes. The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) previously applied only to employers with four or more employees. No longer. Under the Act, it is amended to permit claims of gender-based harassment by all employees – regardless of the employer’s size.

Previously, the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights was one year from the alleged harassment. No longer. The statute of limitations, under the Act, is extended to three years.

Effective July 8, 2018. City Contractors will have to update their policies and procedures. They will have to include policies “relating to preventing and addressing sexual harassment.”

Effective September 6, 2018.  Much like the posters advising employees about their right to overtime, employers will be required, as of September 6, to conspicuously display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and distribute an information sheet on sexual harassment to new hires. The City Commission will promulgate both.

Effective April 1, 2019. Employers with 15 or more employees, which will include interns, will be required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees, including supervisory and managerial employees. This training must be interactive and must cover certain topics, including defining examples of sexual harassment, education on bystander intervention, and explanations of how to bring complaints both internally and with the applicable federal, state and city administrative agencies.  The City Commission will be required, under the Act, to develop publicly available online sexual harassment training modules for employers’ use, and an employer using them will understandably satisfy the requirements of the Act so long as the employer supplements the module with information about the employer’s own internal complaint process to address sexual harassment claims.

If you have questions about this new Act or believe you are the victim of sexual harassment, call one of the sexual harassment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.