Employers should be aware that New York state has passed a law that requires employers to reference an established hotline in any material – including handbooks, policies and workplace postings – they post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment.
The hotline is intended to enable individuals experiencing workplace harassment to receive pro bono counsel and assistance. Just this week, the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) established this toll-free, confidential hotline. Pro bono attorneys will be available to staff the hotline Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The law went into effect on July 14, 2022, and although the state did not have the required information published as of that date, the information is now available, and employers are now required to provide this updated information in their materials. The hotline’s phone number is 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773), and further information from the DHR pertaining to the hotline is available here. Notably, however, as of today’s date, the model harassment policy has not yet been updated to reflect these new requirements. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s announcement regarding the hotline’s launch is available here.
Given the recent implementation of the hotline and the requirement imposed on employers to publish information about it, employers should review and revise their handbooks, policies and any other materials posted or provided to employees regarding sexual harassment in order to ensure compliance. Should you have any questions or if you would like assistance with these updates, members of the BakerHostetler Labor and Employment Practice Group are available and happy to help.