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New York City Passes the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

On May 9, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. This law implements numerous changes to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) with respect to claims of sexual harassment. Among these changes, the NYCHRL will now permit gender-based harassment claims by all employees, regardless of the size of the employer. The law also increases the statute of limitations to bring a gender-based claim from one year to three.

Effective July 8, 2018, New York City contractors will be required to report their policies related to preventing and addressing sexual harassment.

Effective September 6, 2018, employers will be required to post an anti-sexual harassment poster and distribute an information sheet on sexual harassment, both of which will be designed by the city.

Effective April 1, 2019, employers with fifteen or more employees will be required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training. Going beyond the new training requirements adopted by New York State, this training must be interactive and cover additional topics, such as the importance of bystander intervention to stop workplace harassment. Managers and supervisors will need additional training covering their specific responsibilities when it comes to preventing sexual harassment and retaliation, as well as the procedure to properly address sexual harassment complaints. Employers will be required to keep training records for at least three years.

Employers in New York City with over fifteen employees must carefully consider the coverage of the anti-sexual harassment training and policy that they adopt. While the model policy provided by the state will be sufficient to satisfy the state’s requirements, city employers must be careful that the policy that they adopt complies with whichever standard is higher, and may need modify the state’s model policy accordingly.