“Governor Cuomo Signs 2019 Budget Bill With Significant Provisions Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims”
On April 12, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York State 2019 Budget Bill (the “Budget”), which contains, among other things, provisions:
- Requiring employers to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy that equals or exceeds the standards of a model policy to be created by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Division of Human Rights (DHR);
- Requiring employers to establish a sexual harassment prevention training program that equals or exceeds a model program to be created by the DOL and DHR and provided to employees on an annual basis;
- Imposing liability on employers for permitting sexual harassment of non-employees, such as contractors, subcontractors, vendors and others providing services pursuant to contract in the workplace;
- Prohibiting, except where inconsistent with federal law, contract provisions that require mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims as a condition of a party enforcing or obtaining remedies under a contract; and
- Limiting the use of contractual provisions that preclude a party from disclosing the underlying facts and circumstances of a sexual harassment claim unless the condition of confidentiality is the complainant’s preference.
This Stroock Special Bulletin examines these provisions, which provide for sweeping changes that will impact all employers throughout New York State, and discusses certain unanswered questions that may be addressed by the DOL and DHR.