New York City Supports #MeToo Movement with Sexual Harassment Legislation

On April 11, 2018 the New York City Council passed a package of bills called the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” (the “Act”) (Int. No. 632-A), which were signed into law by Mayor Bill DeBlasio on May 9, 2018. The Act is intended to prevent and combat sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act makes the following changes to New York City’s sexual harassment laws:

  • All employers regardless of size are now covered by the New York City Human Rights Law’s (“NYCHRL”) protections against gender-based harassment. Prior to the Act, these provisions of the NYCHRL only applied to employers with four or more employees.
  • The statute of limitations for filing claims of gender-based harassment under the NYCHRL is increased from one year to three years.
  • All employers must now display a poster with anti-sexual harassment information, and distribute to all new employees an information sheet about sexual harassment.
  • Certain New York City contractors are required to include their policies, practices, and procedures related to preventing and addressing sexual harassment in their employment report for certain city contracts.
  • The New York City Commission on Human Rights is required to post new resources regarding sexual harassment on its website.
  • The NYCHRL’s policy statement has been updated to include the following, “gender-based harassment threatens the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
  • Effective April 1, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees (including interns) will be required to give annual interactive anti-sexual harassment training to all their employees, including managers and supervisors. Employers must make and keep records of the trainings, including signed employee acknowledgements for at least three years. The trainings are required to include the following:
    • A description of what sexual harassment is, along with examples.
    • A description of what unlawful retaliation is, along with examples.
    • An explanation that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under New York City Law, as well as federal and state law.
    • A description of the employer’s internal complaint procedures, as well as the complaint procedures available through the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, along with contact information.
    • Information about how bystanders can intervene.
    • A description of the responsibilities of managers and supervisors to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation, and what actions managers and supervisors can take to address complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation.