Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign a bill that would expand protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

New York State Expands Workplace Harassment Laws

New York State legislators are heading toward the forefront of cracking down on workplace sexual harassment.

They ended their 2019 session passing a plethora of expansions to the state’s existing workplace discrimination laws. Most notably, they removed the requirement for the harassment to be “severe or pervasive” in order for it to be legitimate.

The Sexual Harassment Working Group that seven former New York State legislative employees founded has pushed for changes like these.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the bill into law, but this year, he advocated for the legislation with the anti-harassment group Time’s Up as part of his 2019 Women’s Agenda.

In addition to eliminating the “severe or pervasive” requirement, the expansions also dictate that an employee’s failure to make a complaint about the harassment is no longer a defense, which puts the onus on employers to overhaul and enforce their policies in the first place. They also protect non-employees operating in a place of business, including contractors, subcontractors and vendors.

Additionally, the expansions make further steps toward achieving equal pay, including all protected classes — not just gender — in their legislation.

According to the document, protected classes include age, race, creed, color, national original, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status and domestic violence victim status.

This clarification is important in addressing the intersections that contribute to discrimination. For example, the statistic stating that women earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar does not include breakdowns by race. While white women earn  77 cents, Black women earn 61, Native American women earn 58 and Latina women earn 53, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. The recent 2019 Black Census also indicates Black LGBT employees are more likely to face economic hardship and unemployment.

Related Story: 2019 Black Census Reports Issues Most Pressing In Black LGBT Communities

Under these proposed laws, employers may not ask possible employees about their salary histories. The wording of the bill also prevents employers form paying workers differently for “substantially similar” work, which is less strict than the previous wording indicating “equal” work.

Other highlights of the bill include providing for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees for plaintiffs in any harassment case, expands the statute of limitations to bring such cases up from one year to three years and expands the power of the Attorney General to prosecute cases of harassment against all protected classes. It also requires employers to provide employees with a notice outlining their sexual harassment policies at their yearly sexual harassment prevention meetings. In addition to being printed in English, the notices must also be in the employees’ primary languages, if different from English.

In response to their victory, the Sexual Harassment Working Group said in a press release, “Now we stand here proud. We don’t yet have the strongest laws in the nation, but we’re a lot closer.  Albany is not done yet, and neither are we.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Latest News

Helping to Serve Those Most in Need

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente will provide more than $40 million in grants to community-based organizations in the coming months. Many of those grants will help ensure access to health care for those most in need. “We are a mission-based nonprofit that believes everyone has the right to…

employees discrimination stylists white Black hair natural hair discrimination complaints Sharon Dorram Sally Hershberger New York City Commission On Human Rights

Swanky Salon First Business Penalized Under New York’s Hair Discrimination Legal Guidelines

A swanky salon on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has been penalized under the city’s hair discrimination law, New York City’s Human Rights Commission announced last week. Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger salon is the first business in New York City to face the consequences of discriminating against Black employees…

goodwill industries, settle, disability,

Goodwill Industries to Pay $65,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit

Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. touts its hiring of people with disabilities, but recently settled a workplace discrimination lawsuit for $65,000. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought the lawsuit against Goodwill and announced Monday that the two groups had settled. According to…

ENGIE Chooses Accenture, Salesforce and Vlocity to Support its Customer Relations and Help Them Achieve Their Zero-Carbon Transition

Originally posted on Accenture.com With a global, unified industry-specific CRM, ENGIE is able to get a 360-degree customer view and help even more companies transition to zero-carbon energy SAN FRANCISCO, DREAMFORCE; Nov. 19, 2019 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) and Vlocity Inc. today announced the companies are teaming up with…

TIAA Holds SoPro Business Resource Group Summit

TIAA recently launched its 10th Business Resource Group (BRG): SoPro, for Seasoned Professionals of TIAA. The SoPro BRG’s mission is to maximize the impact of TIAA’s network of seasoned professionals by bridging generational differences and promoting cross-cultural collaboration by sharing knowledge and experiences. This includes future collaboration and partnership with…

Boeing Programs Receive Aviation Week Laureate Awards

Originally published on Boeing.mediaroom.com. ecoDemonstrator and Ground-based Midcourse Defense programs recognized for achievements in aerospace wo Boeing [NYSE:BA] programs were honored today with Aviation Week Laureate Awards for extraordinary achievements in aerospace. Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program was recognized in the Commercial Aviation Sustainability category. The ecoDemonstrator takes promising technologies out of the…