In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, New York, California and a number of other jurisdictions, both local and state, have passed new laws aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace. The New York laws require written sexual harassment prevention policy, assurance that all current and new employees, and even applicants for employment, receive a copy of the policy, and mandate annual sexual harassment training for all employees. In addition, New York law now provides that employers can be liable for sexual harassment of nonemployees in the workplace, such as contractors, vendors and subcontractors. Recent legislation prohibits employers from using mandatory arbitration provisions in employment contracts or nondisclosure agreements except when this is the victim preference. Let me suggest that there are some important lessons to be learned from these laws.
While not an advocate for all these new New York laws, I am certainly an advocate for employer awareness and prevention of the very serious harm that sexual harassment and disrespectful conduct can create. Review your policies, train your employees, and embrace a positive, forward looking culture, where you would be proud to have a camera and film crew recording the interactions among your employees on a day-to-day basis.