What the New Anti-Sexual Harassment Laws in New York Mean for Your Business—Wherever You Operate
There’s a lot employers should be thinking and talking about when it comes to workplace harassment. As compliance professionals, we’ve taken on the task of starting the conversation. In fact, we’ve written several thousand words about harassment here on the Compli blog. From noticing the signs of toxic organizational culture to handling reported incidents promptly and thoroughly, there are resources on our site dedicated to virtually every subject related to harassment prevention.
If you do business in or around New York, now would be an especially good time to catch up on these resources. In just a couple months, employers in New York will need to comply with new regulations around annual anti-harassment training and written anti-harassment policies. And in addition to the statewide legislation becoming effective this October, a broad array of sexual harassment laws will soon going into effect within the five boroughs.
Over on their blog, our friends at Fisher Phillips have published an excellent overview of the city-wide laws, collectively referred to as The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. Their article covers the 11 bills that “will significantly expand the obligations of New York City employers to prevent sexual harassment.” According to the Legal Alert, the new laws will, among other things…
- require mandatory yearly sexual harassment training,
- expand New York City Human Rights Law employer coverage,
- lengthen the statute of limitations,
- create new notice and reporting requirements.
What should employers do next?
The attorneys write:
Your anti-harassment program must be operational by:
October 9, 2018
State of New York
April 1, 2019
New York City
“Given this raft of new legislation, some of which are already effective, employers in New York City must be prepared for strengthened laws aimed at targeting sexual harassment in the workplace. You should take stock of your current harassment policies to ensure compliance with existing laws and assess what steps will be necessary to comply with the new legislation.”
Read “NYC Adopts Sweeping New Sexual Harassment Laws.”
Even if you don’t operate in or anywhere near NYC, I encourage you to read the article to get a sense of where harassment laws in your city or state may be headed next. (Get ready, California!)
Harassment is not limited by geography, and employers throughout the US should not be surprised if their nearest attorneys’ general offices start adopting similar legislation. As Fisher Phillips puts it, “[t]he bills confirm that New York City is looking to be a leader as jurisdictions everywhere grapple with combatting sexual harassment in the workplace.”
These conversations about harassment, after all, don’t mean much if things don’t start changing.