Legal Alert: Some of the Changes to the New York Laws Related to Sexual Harassment Claims Go Into Effect on July 11

Two changes to the New York Laws related to sexual harassment claims go into effect on July 11, 2018. Please read below for more details.

Limits on Use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in Settlement Agreements Resolving Sexual Harassment Claims

Earlier this year, the New York General Obligations Law was amended to add a new provision that limits the use of certain confidentiality clauses in agreements resolving sexual harassment claims. Effective July 11, employers may no longer include provisions in such agreements that would prevent the person alleging sexual harassment from disclosing the underlying facts of the complaint, unless the person wants such a non-disclosure to be in place. There are specific requirements that must be met if the person alleging sexual harassment decides to include a non-disclosure clause.

Prohibition on the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Clauses for Sexual Harassment Claims

Earlier this year, the Civil Practice Law and Rules were amended to largely prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment claims. Previously, such clauses were sometimes included in employment contracts or employee handbooks. This change goes into effect on July 11.

What Should You Do Now?

  • Remove any non-disclosure language from any model or template settlement agreements or other similar documents that are used to settle sexual harassment claims in New York.
  • Remove mandatory arbitration clauses from employment contracts and/or employee handbooks or explicitly state that sexual harassment claims are not included in any mandatory arbitration clauses that you may use in New York.

If you have questions about this new legislation, please contact your Pro Bono Partnership attorney
at 914-328-0674.