New laws strengthening the state’s workplace anti-discrimination and sexual harassment protections went into effect on Friday (October 11).
Governor Cuomo says these provisions eliminate the restriction that harassment be “severe or pervasive” in order for it to be legally actionable, while also prohibiting confidentiality requirements in employment discrimination settlements unless such confidentiality is the plaintiff’s preference.
“The ongoing culture of sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and has held employees back for far too long,” Governor Cuomo said. “This critical measure finally ends the absurd legal standard for victims to prove sexual harassment in the workplace and makes it easier for those who have been subjected to this disgusting behavior to bring claims forward. Now it’s time for employers across the state to step up and review their internal policies to ensure their employees are protected from harassment or discrimination and abusers who violate these standards are held accountable.”
The new provisions also expand protections against all forms of workplace discrimination to include domestic workers and all contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and others providing services in the workplace.
Additionally, individuals and attorneys are now permitted to seek financial awards in employment discrimination cases.
These measures are part of the Governor’s 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda.