On April 12, 2018, the New York State Budget was signed into law, which contains significant new measures directing how private and public employers respond to, and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Highlights of the new law include:
prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment claims, with the exception of valid arbitration procedures in union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements;
prohibiting employers from requiring confidentiality clauses in settlements or agreements relating to claims of sexual harassment, unless the employee or complainant desires confidentiality;
requiring the New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights to develop a model sexual harassment prevention policy and a model sexual harassment prevention training program for use by employers;
requiring employers to develop and distribute anti-harassment policies in the workplace and to provide anti-harassment training for all employees; and
covering non-employees from sexual harassment, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and consultants; among other provisions.
Make sure your handbooks and policies are consistent with New York's new anti-harassment law, and that the procedures followed in the workplace comply with the law.