By Leah Kessler
Last year, New York State and New York City made groundbreaking expansions to the sexual harassment provisions of several state and city statutes and regulations, which we blogged about here. In doing so, New York has increased the safety of men and women in the workplace. This is an important task, as there are approximately 321,500 cases of rape and sexual assault reported annually in the U.S.—a number far less than the projected actual number, as victims are often too afraid to report their experiences. These laws are an important step forward, effectively holding employers and companies to a higher standard to improve the workplace, especially for the over 74 million women in the labor force today.
In May 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act—comprehensive legislation aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Notably, this act expands the City Human Rights Law in cases of gender-based harassment by increasing the statute of limitations to bring claims to the New York City Commission on Human Rights from one- to three-years, regardless of the size of their employer. In addition, it requires all employers in the City to display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities in both English and Spanish. Employers are also required to post a mandatory notice provided by the New York City Commission on Human Rights as well as a mandatory notice to all new hires. (The notices are found here and here, respectively.) Employers must already be in compliance with these posting requirements.