On July 19, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a statewide hotline for employees who believe they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. This announcement follows several pieces of legislation1 passed in March 2022, in which sexual harassment protections for employees were expanded. As part of the legislation, the New York State Division of Human Rights was directed to establish a toll-free, confidential hotline for complainants of workplace sexual harassment. Employees can call the hotline and receive advice on their legal rights as applied to their specific circumstances from attorneys, who staff the hotline pro bono. As of July 20, 2022, the hotline is operational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773).
On June 24, 2022, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 2022 WL 2276808 (June 24, 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) and held that (i) the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion and (ii) the authority to regulate abortion is held by the states. The statute at issue in Dobbs was Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which banned abortion after 15 weeks except in a medical emergency or in the case of severe fetal abnormality. Employers across the nation must now determine how to evaluate and respond to the far-reaching implications of this decision.
On May 12, 2022, Mayor Adams signed into law the NYC Council Amendment to the recently enacted Salary Transparency Law. In addition to postponing the law’s effective date to Nov. 1, 2022, this amendment also clarifies three other aspects of the law:
On Jan. 15, 2022, the New York City council amended the City Human Rights Law to encourage equity and transparency in pay.1 This amendment is part of larger national trend towards greater pay transparency. Several states have adopted similar laws, and the New York State legislature has introduced pay transparency legislation which is currently under consideration. On March 22, 2022, the City’s Commission on Human Rights issued guidance for employers providing some much-needed clarity in advance of the effective date. This blog post will outline the requirements of the new law, informed by that guidance, and it will provide recommendations for what employers can do now to get ready for this new compliance obligation.
The Fair Chance Act (FCA), which was added to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) on Oct. 27, 2015, provides “fair chance” protections to workers with criminal convictions and limits when and to what extent employers can consider an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions. On July 15, 2021, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued new guidance1 interpreting key amendments to the FCA that go into effect on July 29, 2021.
Earlier this month, the federal court for the Western District of New York issued a decision in Charter Communications, Inc. v. Derfert, No. 20-cv-915, 2021 WL 37726 (W.D.N.Y. Jan. 4, 2021) holding that an employment arbitration agreement did not preclude a hearing before the New York State Division of Human Rights (the Division) on an employee’s discrimination claim.
On July 12, Governor Cuomo signed a bill amending the New York Human Rights Law to prohibit employment discrimination based on "traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles." The term "protective hairstyles" includes, but is not limited to, "such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists." This amendment took effect immediately upon the Governor's signature.
In 1980, the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York) held that the prohibition against "marital status" discrimination contained in the New York State Human Rights Law includes only discrimination based on the status of being married or not married, and does not prevent an employer from taking an adverse employment action against an employee based on the identity or occupation of a person's spouse. In that case, Manhattan Pizza Hut, Inc. v. New York State Human Rights Appeal Board, the Court upheld the employer's decision to discharge the plaintiff because her husband was employed as her supervisor in violation of the employer's anti-nepotism policy. In a recent decision, however, the First Department Appellate Division adopted a more expanded definition of marital status discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law.
A recent decision from the New York Appellate Division is a clarion call to employers in New York City of the legal risks they face for workplace harassment claims and the need for diligence in their harassment training and prevention.
In blog posts on April 11 and May 10, we explained a piece of legislation that will ban nearly all New York City employers from: (1) asking job applicants about their compensation history; and (2) relying on a job applicant’s compensation history when making a job offer or negotiating an employment contract. This post serves as a friendly reminder that the law will take full effect on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.