March 2022: New York Enacts New laws to Strengthen Employee Harassment Protections

23 Mar


Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of New York.

What happened?
On March 16, 2022, Governor Hochul signed Assembly Bill 2035 (AB203) and Senate Bill 5870 (SB5870) into law.

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What are the details?
Effective July 14, 2022, the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR) will be required to establish and maintain a toll-free, confidential hotline to provide assistance to employees complaining of workplace sexual harassment. Employees who call this hotline will be assisted by pro bono attorneys recruited by the NYSDHR.

Information regarding the hotline will be added to all required workplace posters and sexual harassment materials by the NYSDHR in collaboration with the New York Department of Labor. The hotline will not extend to other forms of discrimination or harassment covered under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).

Effective immediately, the anti-retaliation provisions of the NYSHRL specifically prohibit employers from disclosing or releasing an employee’s personnel file in retaliation for opposing unlawful workplace harassment or discrimination or for initiating or participating in complaint procedures (except where necessary to respond to or defend a civil or criminal action or in a judicial or administrative proceeding).

The law was further amended to permit the Attorney General to commence a proceeding against an employer upon information and belief that the employer has or is about to violate this new provision.

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For more information, please see the links below:

Article 1Article 2

Assembly Bill 2035 (AB203)

Senate Bill 5870 (SB5870)

What do employers need to do?
Employers need to review the links above, continue to take measures to ensure their workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment, as well as review, revise, and implement policies and trainings with an employment attorney to ensure compliance.

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