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New York Legislators Introduce Bills on Workplace Sexual Harassment, Retaliatory Action

    Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and clarifying the definition of retaliatory action are the topics of two bills introduced on the first day of New York’s 2018 legislative session.

    Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

    A bill introduced by Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) would amend the Labor Law to require the Department of Labor to create a “strong model management policy” defining and prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as a model training program to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

    S.7193 also would amend the Human Rights Law to clarify instances of sexual harassment as unlawful discriminatory practices and apply the provisions to all employers, public and private, in New York.

    Further, the bill would amend the Executive Law to require the Department of State to provide employers notice of laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

    The bill was introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic on January 8, 2018.

    Clarification of Retaliatory Action

    Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-Brooklyn) pre-filed a bill that would amend §296 of the Executive Law (Unlawful Discriminatory Practices, within Article 15 – Human Rights Law) to clarify that the definition of a retaliatory action in the workplace includes an instance where an aggrieved employee is treated less favorably than any other employee.

    S.7192 contains the following affirmative defenses for employers:

    1. The employer planned to demote, discharge, or penalize the employee prior to learning the employee had opposed a practice prohibited under the Human Rights Law, filed a complaint against the employer, or testified or assisted in a proceeding under the Human Rights Law.
    2. The employer’s treatment of the aggrieved employee is without any consideration of the employee’s opposition of a practice prohibited under the Human Rights Law, filing of a complaint against the employer, or testimony or assistance in a proceeding under the Human Rights Law.

    There is currently no sponsor in the Assembly.
     
    The Jackson Lewis Government Relations practice monitors and tracks all legislation introduced in New York, advocates for client positions with New York’s legislators, and helps clients oppose legislation that will be detrimental to their business interests.

    Please contact the authors of this post, Jackson Lewis attorneys Lisa Marrello or Tom Buchan, or your Jackson Lewis attorney if you have any questions about these developments.

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