New Law Establishes Hotline for Sexual Harassment Complaints

March 16, 2022 By Abbye Schmitz

On March 16, 2022, the state enacted a new law that requires the New York State Division of Human Rights (Division) to establish a toll-free hotline for individuals to make complaints of workplace sexual harassment. The new law, effective July 14, 2022, also provides free legal assistance to individuals who contact the hotline.

Employer Impact

The new law amends the state’s existing Human Rights Law—which applies to all employers in the state—to strengthen its current protections against workplace sexual harassment. Under the amendment, the Division must work with the New York State Department of Labor (NYDOL) to update “any materials employers must post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment” so they include information about the new hotline.

Expected Updates

The current law requires employers to provide employees with a written workplace sexual harassment policy and annual training on workplace sexual harassment prevention. In addition, the Division provides a model workplace poster on sexual harassment prevention as an optional tool for directing employees and others to an employer’s sexual harassment prevention policy. Thus, employers may expect these and other materials to need updates starting July 14, 2022. All employers in the state should watch for more information from the Division and NYDOL.

Additional Hotline Details

The amendment requires the new hotline to operate during regular business hours. It also requires the Division to recruit attorneys with experience in providing counsel related to sexual harassment matters to provide free legal advice to hotline callers.

For additional details, or assistance with implementing NYS sexual harassment prevention law, please contact us.