On July 19, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a new state-wide, toll-free, confidential hotline for complaints of workplace sexual harassment. The New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR) was required to establish and maintain this hotline in connection with an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 295, which Governor Hochul signed into law on March 16, 2022 and which became effective on July 14, 2022. New York employees and individuals who visit a workplace in the course of their own work (e.g., consultants, delivery drivers, repair technicians, salespersons) may now call the hotline at 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773) during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to make complaints and receive pro bono counsel and assistance regarding workplace sexual harassment. The pro bono attorneys staffing the hotline are New York State attorneys who have expertise in employment law and sexual harassment issues.
The law further requires the NYSDHR to disseminate information about the hotline and 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.” Though no guidance has been released from the NYSDHR and/or the NYSDOL concerning updated related materials to be provided to employees, employers should review their handbooks and standalone policies, workplace postings and training materials regarding sexual harassment and include the new hotline telephone number in such materials. Forthcoming guidance from the NYSDHR and/or the NYSDOL is expected, and we will provide an update once such guidance is released.
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