August 19, 2019

August 19, 2019

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Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Updating the New York State Human Rights Law

On Monday, Governor Cuomo signed into the law the last of four bills aimed at strengthening workplace protections for employees.  In mid-July, the Governor signed pay equity, salary history disclosure and hair discrimination laws into effect.  Now, the Governor has completed this effort by signing into the law a bill that makes significant changes to the New York Human Rights Law.  A summary of the new law and its implications for employers can be found here.  We blogged about the pay equity and salary disclosure laws here and here.  Finally, we summarize below the various effective dates of the provisions contained in these new laws.

Law

Description

Effective Date

NYSHRL

Prohibits discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles

July 12, 2019

NYSHRL

Requires liberal interpretation of the law regardless of how similarly-worded Federal laws have been construed, along with narrow interpretation of the law’s exceptions and exemptions. 

August 12, 2019

NYSHRL

Increases the notice and distribution requirements of sexual harassment policies and training materials

August 12, 2019

NYSHRL

Creates statutory cause of action for discriminatory harassment

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Sets lower standard for proving discriminatory harassment

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Eliminates corrective Action (“Faragher-Ellerth”) Affirmative Defense

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Provides that non-employees may recover for any type of discrimination

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Allows Claimants to recover punitive damages and attorneys’ fees awards against private employers

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Prohibits employers from including broad non-disclosure provisions in settlement/separation agreements resolving any discrimination claim (unless preferred by plaintiff)

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Prohibits employers from requiring individuals to arbitrate discrimination claims.  (But note that this may be preempted by the FAA)

October 11, 2019

NYSHRL

Lengthens the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims with the New York State Division of Human Rights to 3 years (previously 1 year)

August 12, 2020

NYS Pay Equity Act

Expands protections to any protected class and sets new standard of proof  for “substantially similar work”

October 8, 2019

NYS Labor Law

Places restrictions on employer inquiry and subsequent use of applicant and employee wage and salary history information

January 6, 2020

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About this Author

Michael S. Arnold, Mintz Levin Law Firm, Labor Law Attorney
Member / Chair, Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice

Michael Arnold is Chair of the firm's Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice.  He is an employment lawyer who deftly handles a wide array of matters. His capabilities include counseling on everyday HR life cycle issues, defending management and senior executives in connection with employment-related proceedings, and assisting companies navigate the complex employment issues that arise in transactions.  Michael’s clients appreciate his strong emphasis on providing not just legal advice, but also practical advice, that aligns with organizational and HR strategies while...

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Brie Kluytenaar, Mintz Levin, New York, Employment Relations Lawyer, Arbitration Attorney
Practice Group Associate

Brie’s practice encompasses a range of labor and employment law matters. She has represented clients in state and federal court, as well as before the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, and other administrative bodies. Brie also has experience handling arbitrations, preparing witnesses, and counseling clients on legal strategies relating to disciplinary investigations, compliance with federal, state, and local laws, risk avoidance, and potential litigation. 

Previously, Brie was a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in Region 3, where she handled all aspects of litigation and conducted representation case hearings and elections.

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