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Showing posts with label sexual harassment policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sexual harassment policy. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Status as a Victim of Domestic Violence is Now a Protected Class in New York State

Attention Employers in New York State: Governor Cuomo signed bill S1040 into law extending protections against discrimination in the workplace to victims of domestic violence.

The new law prohibits an employer from hiring or firing an employee or otherwise discriminating against an employee in compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of such employee's status as a victim of domestic violence. The law also requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodations to an employee who is known by the employer to be a victim of domestic violence, unless providing an accommodation would cause an "undue hardship" to the employer.

Reasonable accommodations for victims of domestic violence are limited to: seeking medical attention; obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center; obtaining psychological counseling or legal services; and, taking safety measures to increase protections against future incidents of domestic violence (e.g. relocation). Time off as a result of such accommodation may be charged against the employee's paid time-off (per law and/or employer's policy). If paid time off is unavailable, an employer may treat such absence as leave without pay.

Employers should immediately update their handbooks, policies, and discrimination prevention trainings to comply with this new law.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Alert: Cuomo Makes it Easier for Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims

Attention Employers and HR!!!!

Cuomo signs sexual harassment law- as we first reported on June 19, 2019, A08421 passed both houses and now Cuomo has made it the law of the State of New York.

The legislation does the following:
  • Changes the severe or pervasive standard of harassment to a very low standard of more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences;
  • Eliminates part of the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense to a lawsuit by making the fact that the employee did not make a complaint about the harassment to the employer not determinative as to liability;
  • Extends protection for non-employees in the workplace to all protected classes;
  • Allows courts to award attorney's fees on all claims of employment discrimination, and allow for punitive damages in employment discrimination cases against private employers;
  • Provide that the Human Rights Law is to be construed liberally for remedial purposes, regardless of how federal laws have been construed;
  • Prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses for discrimination claims;
  • Prohibit non-disclosure agreements in any settlement for a claim of discrimination, unless it's the complainant's preference;
  • Provide that any term or condition in a non-disclosure agreement is void if it prohibits the complainant from initiating or participating in an agency investigation or disclosing facts necessary to receive public benefits;
  • Require that employees be notified that non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts cannot prevent them from talking to the police, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the State Division of Human Rights or a similar local entity, or a lawyer;
  • Extend the authority of the Attorney General to prosecute certain civil and criminal cases of discrimination against all protected classes;
  • Require the Department of Labor and the Division of Human Rights to evaluate the impact of the model sexual harassment prevention policy every four years and update the policy as needed;
  • Require any term or condition in a non-disclosure agreement be provided in writing to all parties, in plain English and the primary language of the complainant;
  • Require the commissioner of the Labor Department to prepare templates of the model policy in languages other than English;
  • Require every employer to provide employees with their sexual harassment policy in English or their primary language when they are hired and during training; and
  • Extend the statute of limitations to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Division of Human Rights from one year to three years.

Visit discriminationpreventiontraining.com to keep your company safe from discrimination claims while maintaining a safe workplace for all.



Thursday, June 20, 2019

Harassment Law Game Changer - HR's Sample Notice to Employees

Attention Business Owners and HR

Lieb Compliance has solved your immediate need to protect your company against the new NYS Workplace Harassment Standard - see below.

Alert: Workplace harassment / discrimination standard reduced to permit claims for acts only rising above "petty slights" or "trivial inconveniences."

Act Now: You must act swiftly to advise your teams that absolutely no conversations, pictures or actions will be allowed that are related to anyone's demographics (age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, and religion)

To Do: Send this email to your team NOW!

"To Our Team:

As you are aware, this company firmly believes that discrimination and harassment is contrary to the values we promote in the workplace and is detrimental to our success as a company. With the passing of new laws in New York State strengthening anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections, we are taking this opportunity to reiterate our zero tolerance policy to harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Any acts or comments that you may think are trivial inconveniences or petty slights, but may be perceived by an employee to be based on or related to his or her demographics (i.e., age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, and religion) will not be tolerated.

You are our "first line of defense" and must take proactive roles in ensuring that our work environment remains free of discrimination and harassment. If  you think an employee may perceive a comment or act - even if it is isolated - to be related to his or her demographics, you should refrain from making such comment or taking such action. In addition, if you witness such conduct or are informed that such conduct occurred, you should immediately report the conduct to your boss, manager, HR team or business owner. Upon receiving your report, an investigation will be conducted promptly and any and all corrective action will ensue.

We are currently in the process of updating our formal policies and workplace discrimination trainings in light of the new law and we anticipate circulating such policies and conducting updated training for all employees in the near future. If you have any questions related to our anti-discrimination or anti-harassment policy you are encouraged to contact your boss or HR. Thank you for your continued partnership in keeping our workplace void of discrimination and harassment.

Again, we need you to keep our workplace free from harassment and discrimination."

Note: This is sample language meant to be a general notice to be distributed to employees in the workplace and is not intended to address any specific situations in the workplace. Any such situations or questions should be directed to employment counsel.

Visit discriminationpreventiontraining.com to keep your company safe from discrimination claims while maintaining a safe workplace for all.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Breaking News - Workplace Anti-Discrimination Laws Updated in NYS

Attention Employers and HR!!!!

A08421 has passed both houses and is headed to the Governor to change discrimination laws in NYS forever.

The legislation does the following:

  • Changes the severe or pervasive standard of harassment to a very low standard of more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences;
  • Eliminates part of the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense to a lawsuit by making the fact that the employee did not make a complaint about the harassment to the employer not determinative as to liability;
  • Extends protection for non-employees in the workplace to all protected classes;
  • Allows courts to award attorney's fees on all claims of employment discrimination, and allow for punitive damages in employment discrimination cases against private employers;
  • Provide that the Human Rights Law is to be construed liberally for remedial purposes, regardless of how federal laws have been construed;
  • Prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses for discrimination claims;
  • Prohibit non-disclosure agreements in any settlement for a claim of discrimination, unless it's the complainant's preference;
  • Provide that any term or condition in a non-disclosure agreement is void if it prohibits the complainant from initiating or participating in an agency investigation or disclosing facts necessary to receive public benefits;
  • Require that employees be notified that non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts cannot prevent them from talking to the police, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the State Division of Human Rights or a similar local entity, or a lawyer;
  • Extend the authority of the Attorney General to prosecute certain civil and criminal cases of discrimination against all protected classes;
  • Require the Department of Labor and the Division of Human Rights to evaluate the impact of the model sexual harassment prevention policy every four years and update the policy as needed;
  • Require any term or condition in a non-disclosure agreement be provided in writing to all parties, in plain English and the primary language of the complainant;
  • Require the commissioner of the Labor Department to prepare templates of the model policy in languages other than English;
  • Require every employer to provide employees with their sexual harassment policy in English or their primary language when they are hired and during training; and
  • Extend the statute of limitations to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Division of Human Rights from one year to three years.

Visit discriminationpreventiontraining.com to keep your company safe from discrimination claims while maintaining a safe workplace for all.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Employers With Independent Contractors - What You Need To Know About The New Law Requiring Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Andrew Lieb, Esq. and Mordy Yankovich, Esq. clarify what employers need to know about the new NYS and NYC laws requiring sexual harassment prevention training.

Watch this clip and learn about your responsibilities and exposure.




Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Employers - Watch out for Sexual Harassment Training Vendors Claiming to Be Compliant When They Are Not - Here is What You Need To Know

Employers who are seeking to purchase sexual harassment prevention training and policies in compliance with the new New York State and New York City sexual harassment laws must be mindful that some vendors are offering trainings that are not compliant with the new laws.

The New York State law (Section 201-g of the N.Y. Labor Law), which took effect on October 9, 2018, requires that all employers issue a sexual harassment prevention policy that meet minimum requirements including but not limited to establishing a procedure, specifically tailored to each individual employer, for timely investigation of all complaints and issuing a complaint form. 

Therefore - if a company is claiming they can offer a uniform training for any employee to take - be mindful that employers must have a sexual harassment prevention policy and complaint form that specifically shows the employee how to make a complaint and whom to make a complaint to and the information must be including in the training. In the NYS model training, it states: "The training should detail any internal process employees are encouraged to use to complain and include the contact information for the specific name(s) and office(s) with which employees alleging harassment should file their complaints."

The NYS law also requires annual training for all employees (and training for new employees within a reasonable time after hiring). The training must be interactive and must include; 1) an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor; 2) examples of conduct that constitute unlawful harassment; 3) information regarding the specific state and federal statutory provision concerning sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; 4) information regarding employees' rights of redress and remedies available to victims; 5) information regarding conduct responsibilities of supervisors.

The New York City law (Local Law 96), effective April 1, 2019, requires employers with fifteen (15) or more employees to conduct annual training which must be interactive and must include, among other requirements, the employer's specific process for addressing sexual harassment complaints, information concerning bystander intervention and the specific responsibilities of managers and supervisors to address complaints of harassment. In addition, the NYC law requires that employers obtained signed acknowledgment from employees that they attended the training.

While not required, policies and trainings should also address other forms of harassment and discrimination (i.e. race and age), to minimize exposure to potential lawsuits against the employer.

It is imperative that employers choose a vendor who is offering trainings and policies in strict compliance to these new laws to avoid unnecessary penalties and exposure to lawsuits.

Lieb Compliance offers a fully compliant training package including a compliant sexual harassment prevention policy, complaint form and interactive training.