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New York Governor Takes Aim at Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

By Lisa M. Marrello and Thomas Buchan
  • January 9, 2018

New York employers should expect proposals to “combat sexual harassment in the workplace” in the 2018-2019 Executive Budget or as standalone proposals, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his 2018 State of the State address on January 3, 2018.

The Governor said his anti-harassment proposals will include legislation that will:

  • Prevent taxpayer funds from being used in settlements against individuals relating to sexual assault and harassment;
  • Create a uniform code of sexual harassment policies that will be binding on state and local government employers;
  • Create an anonymous whistleblower process for state and local government employees; and
  • Void arbitration policies or clauses in employee contracts that prevent sexual harassment cases from consideration in law enforcement investigation and court trials.

The anti-harassment proposals also will include legislation prohibiting confidentiality agreements relating to sexual harassment and assault from all public entities and branches of government, unless it is the victim’s express preference.

Further, they will require all New York companies to conduct annual reporting on the number of sexual harassment violations and nondisclosure agreements executed by the company.

The legislative components of the anti-harassment proposals have not been introduced, but they may appear as individual pieces of legislation, called “Governor’s Program Bills.” On the other hand, they may be introduced through the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal, which is set for release in January 2018.

The anti-harassment proposals are among dozens of proposals of what the Governor hopes to accomplish in 2018.

The Jackson Lewis Government Relations practice monitors and tracks all legislation introduced in New York, advocates for client positions with New York’s legislators, and helps clients oppose legislation that will be detrimental to their business interests. We have been involved in all phases of the New York State Budget process, from the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal through the Final Enacted State Fiscal Year Budget.

Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney if you have any questions about these developments.

©2018 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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