sexual harassment

Worth the Wait: NYS Clarifies Requirements for Sexual Harassment Prevention Programs

One week before the October 9, 2018 deadline for compliance with the statewide sexual harassment prevention mandate (the “Mandate”), New York Labor Law § 201-g, New York State released revised model documents available on the state website: READ MORE

NYS Advances its #MeToo Agenda: Draft Sexual Harassment Guidance Released

Late last week and in anticipation of the October 9, 2018 deadline for compliance with the statewide sexual harassment prevention mandate (the “Mandate”), New York Labor Law § 201-g, New York State released a model policy, complaint form, and training module.  The materials are still in draft form and the State is accepting public comments through September 12, meaning these documents are subject to change.  The model policy, complaint form, training module, and FAQs are available here.  Several portions of the sample documents exceed the Mandate’s minimum requirements, and some directly conflict with the position of other agencies.

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#MeToo in Germany – Internal Investigation in Sexual Assault Cases

Due to increased awareness and reporting triggered by the international #metoo discussion, besides taking preventive measures, it is crucial for companies with employees in Germany to know what internal actions to take in the event an employee reports an incident of sexual harassment at the workplace. READ MORE

Employers, Victims, and Witnesses Rejoice: California Bars Sexual Harassers from Suing for Defamation

In the wake of #MeToo, California has enacted a new statute aimed to protect victims, witnesses, and former employers from claims of defamation for making complaints or communicating information about alleged sexual harassers to others.  On July 9, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2770. The bill amends Civil Code section 47, which makes certain communications “privileged,” meaning those communications cannot be the basis of a defamation claim.

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NYC Harassment Poster and Notice Released

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released the Fact Sheet and mandatory Notice referenced in the recent Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the “Act”).  Effective September 6, 2018, all employers in New York City must conspicuously post the Notice in the workplace and must distribute the Fact Sheet to all new employees upon hire.  Alternatively, the Fact Sheet may be incorporated in an employee handbook distributed to new employees upon hire. READ MORE

EEOC Jumps Into Court and Says “#MeToo”

Just days after reconvening its Select Task Force on Harassment with a public meeting titled “Transforming #MeToo Into Harassment-Free Workplaces,” the EEOC marched into seven different federal district courts, from Los Angeles, California to Mobile, Alabama and in between, and said “#MeToo.”

In a statement about the meeting, EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum remarked that the challenge for the EEOC “is to use this #MeToo moment well”, observing that the EEOC had “the attention and commitment of the range of different actors in society that we need … [to] channel that energy to create significant and sustainable change.”

So what does this change look like? And what should employers be mindful of as they try to achieve compliance and reduce litigation risk? READ MORE

Maryland Says “Me Too” with Arbitration Limits and New Reporting Requirements

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan signed into law H.B. 1596, the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 (the “Act”), expanding employee rights and remedies under state sexual harassment law and impacting Maryland employers in two ways. READ MORE

Don’t Stand So Close to Me: Ten California Sexual Harassment Bills to Watch

In tandem with the growing #MeToo movement, sexual harassment appears to be top of mind for California legislators in 2018. In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and the like, California has been flooded with an unprecedented number of bills aimed at combatting sexual harassment.  The 20+ pending bills take on topics ranging from confidentiality provisions to increased mandatory harassment training.  Now more than ever, employers must pay heed to how sexual harassment issues are handled at their companies. Here are the highlights from the top 10 bills that – if passed – will most likely impact employers:

Senate Bill 820 would prohibit settlement agreement provisions that prevent the disclosure of facts related to claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sex discrimination cases. Otherwise known as the STAND (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures) Act, the bill would apply to agreements entered into after January 1, 2019 and would create an exception where a complainant requests a nondisclosure provision (unless the defendant is a government agency or public official, in which case the exception would not be available). The STAND Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2018 with a vote of 5-1, and is now headed to a full vote in the Senate. Assembly Bill 3057 contains similar prohibitions, and is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. READ MORE

NYC Leaps to Cutting Edge of #MeToo Movement

On April 11, 2018, the New York City Council passed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the “Act”), a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace and strengthening New York City’s anti-sexual harassment laws.  This is the first major legislative initiative undertaken by new City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and he explained, “All New Yorkers are entitled to a safe, respectful workplace, and this package of legislation sends a strong message to public and private employers that there is no place for sexual harassment in our City.”  The bill is subject to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval and he is expected to sign this legislation into law in short order.

There are 11 separate bills included in the Act: three amend the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), three apply to private employers, and the rest apply to City agencies. READ MORE

#MeToo—New York Poised to Ban Non-Disclosure and Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims

On March 30, 2018, the New York State Assembly completed passage of the 2018-19 state budget.  Undoubtedly spurred by the #MeToo movement, the final budget measure, which is expected to be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, includes a bill (S. 7507–C/ A. 9507–C), containing several measures aimed at creating safer workplaces free of sexual harassment and abuse.  READ MORE