February 13, 2023

Proposed Changes to New York’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy Aim to Provide More Guidance to Employers

In 2018, New York State Labor Law was amended to require all employers, regardless of size, to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies. To assist employers in this effort, the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued a Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. The policy, which is to be reviewed and revised every four years, provides a template for employers to ensure their company policies meet minimum standards. Now, four years since its adoption, the NYSDOL has issued proposed changes to the model policy. 

On January 12, 2023, the NYSDOL issued their proposed updates after holding an in-person public hearing to collect feedback from the employees, employers and other interested parties. Some of the proposed changes include:  

  • An updated definition of sexual harassment to include gender-based discrimination such as gender stereotyping and treating differently those who may identify as non-binary, transgender or cisgender.
  • An expanded definition of who the policy applies to—“covered individuals” includes not only employees but also independent contractors, gig workers, consultants or other persons providing services within the workplace. 
  • Additional examples of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation that include scenarios that may occur during remote work, namely via messaging applications, use of virtual platforms and inappropriate materials visible in the background of one’s workspace. 
  • The addition of a section on “bystander intervention” to encourage employees who witness harassment to report it even though they are not required to as supervisors are—this section also illustrates five ways a bystander can intervene.  
  • Additional clarification that, under state law, the harassment need not be severe and pervasive as required under federal law. 
  • Additional language that intent is irrelevant and will not neutralize a harassment claim—the impact that the unwelcome conduct has on the individual is what will count. 
  • The addition of information regarding the DHR sexual harassment hotline.

The public comment period closes February 11, 2023. The public has until that date to view and comment upon the proposal.

Berke-Weiss Law Attorneys Speak at Endometriosis Foundation Conference

March 27, 2023
Disability Discrimination
Berke-Weiss Law in the News
Berke-Weiss Law attorneys, Laurie Berke-Weiss, Alex Berke, and Rosa Aliberti, spoke at the EndoFound Global Patient Symposium, commonly referred to as Patient Day, about the legal rights and protections for those with endometriosis.

AI and Compliance, Employers Brace for a Brave New World

March 16, 2023
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Over the last decade, more and more companies have utilized automated tools to aid in hiring, training, retaining. Historically, when practices and technologies are adopted rapidly, the law takes time to catch up and this is no different, with 2023 looking to be a year where companies are going to come under more detailed regulatory and compliance regimes focused on AI.

Elon Musk’s Public Mocking of Employee’s Disability Highlights the Importance of Reasonable Accommodations and Health Information Privacy

March 16, 2023
Disability Discrimination
Elon Musk mocked a Twitter employee for his disability and lack of clarity regarding job status, highlighting issues disabled workers face in the workplace.

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