13 May 2018

US Corporate Law News: New York announces changes to harassment laws following #MeToo movement

On April 11, 2018, the New York City Council passed the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act (the “Act”), which would require employers with 15 or more employees to conduct an annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. The Act would make anti-sexual harassment training mandatory as opposed to simply being a best-practice recommendation. Pursuant to the Act, the New York City Commission on Human Rights would be required to promulgate and provide sample training modules for employer use, while employers would be required to provide training to their employees within 90 days of the initial date of hire. The Act would also require a new poster detailing new anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities to be displayed in a conspicuous location in the workplace. In a similar vein, New York Governor Cuomo's Budget Bill (the “Bill”) also mandates that New York State employers must implement a policy on sexual harassment by October 7, 2018. Such policies are expected to include prohibited conducts and model “complaint” forms, which the New York State Department of Labor is currently tasked to design. More significantly, the Bill expands employer's potential liability by covering sexual harassment claims made by “non-employees”, including independent contractors, thus extending rights to an entire class of individuals who previously had no recourse for actions concerning sexual harassment. For more information, see https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-council-passes-sweeping-sexual-harassment-legislation-1523485689 and our related firm article https://www.withersworldwide.com/en-gb/metoo-prompts-proposed-changes-to-new-yorks-harassment-laws