Workplace Harassment Expanded by the Legislature…More to Come?

Governor Cuomo signed into law sweeping new workplace harassment legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate. This legislation eliminates the requirement that harassment be “severe or pervasive” in order to be legally actionable, mandates that all non-disclosure agreements allow employees to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination, and extends the statute of limitations for employment sexual harassment claims filed from one year to three years. By eliminating the “severe or pervasive” standard and expanding the definition of harassment to include any type of conduct based on a protected characteristic that rises above the level of “petty slight or trivial inconveniences” the law lowers the bar significantly for employees alleging workplace harassment. And there may be more on the way.

The Legislature passed another bill – the Securing Wages Enforced Against Theft Act (SWEAT) – that will allow an employee lien to be imposed on a business claimed to have committed wage theft, regardless of whether they’ve been found liable of wage theft or even a credible complaint. We’ve joined together with a group of associations representing tens of thousands of businesses throughout New York State to make clear to Governor Cuomo the damage this will do and the unfairness of holding your property hostage based on a claim of a wage and hour violation.