On April 12, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed the state’s 2018-2019 budget bill. Going far beyond simple dollars-and-cents issues, the law also includes sweeping changes to the state’s sexual harassment law. Of particular note to employers, the law requires that state contractor bids contain a certification concerning sexual harassment; generally prohibits mandatory arbitration and nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases; establishes model sexual harassment policy and training requirements; and expands the protections against sexual harassment to non-employees.
Effective immediately, it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to permit sexual harassment of contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or other persons providing services pursuant to a contract (or one of their employees). With respect to sexual harassment claims, the prohibitions against mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts go into effect 90 days from the date the bill was signed. Effective 180 days from the date of Mr. Cuomo’s signature, employers must ensure compliance with the state-prescribed model sexual harassment policy and required training program. Finally, beginning on January 1, 2019, bidders on state contracts must include a certification that the bidder has implemented a written sexual harassment policy and that it provides annual sexual harassment training to all of its employees.
New York now joins California, Connecticut and Maine in mandating sexual harassment training. Employers in New York should contact their Ally Law employment lawyer to review their settlement agreements in sexual harassment cases and to reassess their sexual harassment policies and training to ensure they comply with the state’s forthcoming model policy and training program.