New York latest city to pass sexual harassment reforms

New York City companies with 15 or more employees must now provide mandatory sexual harassment training. This is one of the larger impacts stemming from a package of 11 laws recently signed by the city’s mayor. City agencies will also be required to report any harassment complaints as well as the outcomes of those cases. The new laws will ensure that every worker is covered by sexual harassment protections offered in the Human Right’s Law as well.

According to media reports, there were over 1,300 sexual harassment complaints from city employees between 2013 and 2017. Of those cases, 221 were substantiated. Interestingly, the Department of Education had the highest number of complaints but the lowest number of substantiated cases. The mayor originally blamed that figure on a complaint culture within that organization, but later clarified that he wasn’t speaking about sexual harassment cases.

New York joins Chicago and the state of Louisiana in updating sexual harassment policies. According to one lawmaker who sponsored two of the New York bills, the new laws show that the city is taking harassment seriously and is standing up for victims.

Employees who are subject to unequal treatment based on their gender may be victims of employment law violations. Generally, neither government agencies nor private companies may engage in harassment or deny workplace opportunities based on gender or failure to conform to gender stereotypes. Those who are terminated, demoted or harassed after making a sexual harassment claim may file a retaliation claim against an employer. If successful, an individual may be entitled to compensation for back pay plus interest or other financial damages.

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