New York City Council Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation

New York City Council Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation

Last week, The New York City Council passed a suite of 11 separate bills intended to address the scourge of workplace sexual harassment by providing additional protections for victims and imposing new obligations on organizations to prevent harassment, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The measures include a mandate requiring employers with 15 or more workers to conduct sexual harassment prevention training for all employees at least once a year. Employers in the city will also be required to display an anti-sexual-harassment poster designed by the local government, while prospective contractors will have to detail their anti-harassment policies in their bids for city contracts. City agencies will be obligated to report harassment incidents to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, in order to collect more information on the prevalence of sexual harassment, which the city does not currently know enough about.

Another bill expands sexual harassment protections under the New York City Human Rights Law to employees of organizations with four or fewer employees, meaning all employees will be covered by them. Yet another bill increases the statute of limitations for filing harassment claims from one year to three. (Jackson Lewis attorneys offer a more complete description of the bills at the law firm’s website.)

“This package of legislation sends a strong message to public and private employers that there is no place for sexual harassment in our city,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said before the vote, according to the Journal. The bills still await the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio before becoming law, but the mayor is not expected to stand in their way and will likely sign them in the coming weeks.

The raft of legislation, first announced in February, will make New York City one of only a few jurisdictions where private employers are required to provide anti-sexual harassment training. California, Connecticut, and Maine are currently the only states that mandate this training among private employers, though many others have sexual harassment training requirements for public sector employees or educators and encourage private organizations to provide it. New York also recently amended its sick leave law to allow employees to use statutory paid leave to address issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.