New York Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

New York Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The New York Human Rights Law prohibits employers with four or more employees from discrimination based on sex (including gender identity and transgender status), sexual orientation, marital status, or domestic violence victim status (NY Exec. Law Sec. 296 et seq.). The law covers employers with four or more employees. Sexual harassment is generally considered discrimination based on sex. Effective January 19, 2016, all employers in the state, regardless of size, may be liable for unlawful sexual harassment.
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Effective January 20, 2016, discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination under the law (9 NYCRR Sec. 466.13). “Gender identity” is defined as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression whether that identity is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth. A “transgender person” is an individual who has a gender identity different from the sex assigned to that person at birth. Under the regulation, harassment based on a person’s gender identity or transgender status is sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). The essence of the claim is that it is unwelcome harassment of a sexual nature (Mauro v. Orville, 697 N.Y.S.2d 704 (3rd Dept. 1999)). The New York courts have adopted the standards that define sexual harassment under Title VII to apply to actions brought under state human rights law (Espaillat v. Breli Originals, 227 A.D.2d 266 (1st Dept. 1996)).
Generally, isolated remarks or occasional episodes of harassment will not merit relief under the New York Human ...

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