New York extends statute of limitations for workplace sexual harassment
© Getty

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation Monday extending the statute of limitations on workplace harassment and lifting the requirement that the conduct has to be “severe or pervasive” to be challenged in court.

The bill extends the statute of limitations on workplace harassment from one year to three years. It also requires that all nondisclosure agreements that employees sign allow them to file harassment or discrimination complaints with state and local authorities and testify or participate in government investigations.

ADVERTISEMENT

The measure also requires employers to notify employees about sexual harassment policies in English and the worker’s primary language. It requires courts to interpret the state’s Human Rights Law liberally, regardless of federal law, including for contractors, subcontractors, vendors and consultants, Bloomberg Law reported.

“Let’s honor all the women who have suffered this pain and endured this humiliation. Let’s honor the women who have had the courage to come forward and tell their story, even though it was personally hard and difficult, and let’s actually change things,” Cuomo said in a video he tweeted Monday.

Cuomo also called the former New York law that harassment had to be deemed “severe or pervasive” to be brought to trial “absurd.”

“By ending the absurd legal standard that sexual harassment in the workplace needs to be ‘severe or pervasive’ and making it easier for workplace sexual harassment claims to be brought forward, we are sending a strong message that time is up on sexual harassment in the workplace and setting the standard of equality for women,” Cuomo also said in a Monday statement

The legislation passed 109-19 in the state Assembly and unanimously in the state Senate on June 19, Bloomberg News reported.

“With the signing of this legislation, employers across all sectors will be held accountable for addressing all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and survivors will be given the necessary time to report complaints and seek the justice they deserve,” state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D), the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement on Twitter.

The law also requires the state to study how to expand harassment policies and review sexual harassment polices every four years.