Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label Legal Reform. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legal Reform. Show all posts

Monday, November 20, 2023

Protecting Survivors: NYS Bill Prohibits Financial Penalties in Nondisclosure Agreements

On November 17, 2023, Governor Hochul signed Bill A00581, amending NYS' General Obligations Law to prohibit settlements, or other resolution, of sexual harassment claims or any other form of unlawful discrimination from including any term or condition that requires the survivor to pay the defendant liquidated damages if the complainant violates a non-disclosure agreement.

Survivors of sexual harassment and discrimination are often required to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) as a condition for receiving compensation for their horror. NDAs frequently include provisions requiring survivors to pay liquidated damages (predetermined damages) if they violate the agreement and these damages can be devastating. 

As a result, survivors, who later change their minds or those who were coerced into signing an NDA, face financial hardships for speaking out about their experience. This new law will protect survivors by no longer allowing financial penalties against them for sharing their stories about experiencing harassment and discrimination.

This Bill takes effect immediately and will apply to agreements entered on or after its effectiveness Agreements can no longer require the survivor to forfeit part or all of the consideration for violating an NDA. Additionally, defendants can no longer require survivors to sign an affirmative statement, assertion, or disclaimer stating that they were not subject to discrimination or retaliation.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Understanding NY's New Legislation: More Time to File Discrimination Claims

New York State Assembly Bill A00501 represents a pivotal change in the state's approach to handling discrimination cases. Historically, the timeframe for raising claims under the New York State Human Rights Law was restricted - only 90 days for court proceedings against the government and a maximum of one year for bringing issues to the Division of Human Rights, with the sole exception of sexual harassment cases. The introduction of this bill, however, marks a significant shift, extending the statute of limitations to three years across the board for filings with the Division of Human Rights for claims against both private and public entities. This is biggest for education discrimination lawsuits that often were capped at a one year lookback period. 

Increased Access to Justice: The extension from one year to three years dramatically broadens the opportunity for individuals who have experienced discrimination to seek legal redress against the government. This is particularly crucial in cases where the complexity of the situation or the victims' circumstances might delay the decision to pursue legal action.

Benefit to School Discrimination Cases: The most notable impacts of this bill will be in the context of school systems. Previously, students or parents alleging discrimination had a mere year to initiate legal action. The extension to three years provides a more reasonable timeframe to prepare and pursue these important cases.

Click here to read Bill A00501.