IMPORTANT LAW UPDATE FOR ALL EMPLOYERS IN NEW YORK STATE
- Governor Cuomo recently signed new legislation regarding workplace harassment for all employers in New York State, regardless of the number of employees.
- The following goes into effect in October 2019:
- The new bill lowers the current “severe or pervasive” standard employees must meet to show that they have been harassed or discriminated in the workplace.
- The new bill only allows an employer to escape liability if it can show that the alleged harassment comprises “petty slights or trivial inconveniences.”
- Under this new legislation, it will be easier for employees in New York to prove harassment or discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, etc.
- An employer may still be held liable for harassment in the workplace even if the employee never reported such harassment to the employer.
- Effective January 1, 2020, any contract or agreement between an employer and an employee or potential employee may not prevent the disclosure of factual information related to any future claim of discrimination unless the agreement notifies the employee or potential employee that they are not prohibited from speaking with law enforcement, the equal employment opportunity commission, the state division of human rights, a local commission on human rights, or an attorney retained by the employee or potential employee.