On July 19, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a statewide confidential hotline for complaints of workplace sexual harassment. The hotline was provided under Senate Bill No. S812B, which Governor Hochul signed into law on March 16, 2022, as part of a legislative package enacted to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employees and individuals who visit a workplace in the course of their own work may call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773), Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to make complaints and receive counsel and assistance regarding workplace sexual harassment. The hotline is set to be operated by the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), which, if requested, will connect affected individuals with pro bono attorneys who have experience in responding to issues relating to sexual harassment.
The law also requires the NYSDHR to work with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) “to ensure that information on the hotline is included in any materials employers must post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment.” While the law took effect on July 14, 2022, Governor Hochul, in connection with the NYSDHR, did not release the hotline information until after the law’s effective date. In light of this, employers may want to consider taking steps to ensure compliance with the law’s requirements as soon as possible.
Employers may wish to review the above requirements regarding the free confidential hotline to ensure their practices comply with the obligations articulated in the law. Employers may also want to stay tuned for additional updates, as guidance from the NYSDOL is expected to take form in the coming months.
Ogletree Deakins’ New York office will continue to monitor developments with respect to the implementation of the new laws on workplace discrimination and harassment and will post updates on the New York blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.