New York and Maryland will be the next states to increase sexual harassment protections in the workplace.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the state’s budget for 2018-2019, which includes several provisions regarding sexual harassment protections. McGuire and Woods outlines the significant provisions, which include:
- Employers are prohibited from including in any contract pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clauses for claims or allegations of sexual harassment.
- Settlement agreements may not prevent disclosure of underlying facts and circumstances of sexual harassment unless the claimant voluntarily agrees to such a provision after being provided 21 days to consider it and seven days after execution to revoke it.
- All New York employers must either adopt the model policies and programs regarding sexual harassment and training to be published by the New York State Department of Labor, or establish their own policies and programs that meet or exceed the model provisions.
- Employers may be liable for sexual harassment of contractors, subcontractors, vendors or other persons providing services pursuant to a contract under the New York State Human Rights Law when the employer “knew or should have known” that such an individual was subjected to sexual harassment in the employer’s workplace.
The Maryland General Assembly has passed similar legislation, which includes a requirement for employers to submit information to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights regarding the number of settlements made on behalf of the employer and the number of times an employer has paid a settlement to resolve a harassment allegation.
Both states will require more employers to provide sexual harassment training to employees, and will prohibit the inclusion of mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment claims.
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