Mayor de Blasio Signs Act Strengthening Protections Against Sexual Harassment

Today, Mayor de Blasio signed 11 bills to combat workplace sexual harassment. These bills mandate anti-sexual harassment trainings in the public and private sectors; make information about sexual harassment available so more New Yorkers know their rights; require sexual harassment data reporting from city agencies; and expand sexual harassment protections under the New York City Human Rights Law.

“Society has been stacked in favor of men for far too long, leading many to believe they can harass women without fear of punishment,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City will not allow that continue. We are taking action to protect workers against sexual harassment and saying loudly and clearly that anyone who harasses a co-worker will face justice.”

“When women step forward with a grievance, it is the employer’s responsibility to listen and take appropriate action,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “With this new package of bills, New York City is holding ALL employers accountable for what they do when employees come forward to report sexual harassment in the workplace.”

“As revelations from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements continue to unfold, including the recent troubling events here in New York, it’s important victims of sexual harassment know they will always be heard. All New Yorkers are entitled to a safe, respectful workplace, and the ‘Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act’ sends a strong message to public and private employers that there is no place for sexual harassment in our city. It is our responsibility as legislators to take action and protect all of our constituents by ensuring they feel safe no matter where they are ‒ at work, on the train or in the company of people they trust. I thank my colleagues, especially the Council’s Committee on Women Chair Helen Rosenthal, for their activism and I thank the Mayor for his support. I am immensely proud New York City is leading the charge to end sexual harassment,” said Speaker Corey Johnson, sponsor of Intro. 612-A.

Requiring Anti-Sexual Harassment Trainings

  • Intro. 612-A requires all city agencies and the offices of the Mayor, borough presidents, Comptroller, and Public Advocate to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment trainings for all employees.
  • Intro. 632-A requires employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees.

Ensuring New Yorkers Know Their Rights

  • Intro. 614-A requires the New York City Commission on Human Rights to clearly post resources about sexual harassment on its website, including an explanation that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under local law.
  • Intro. 630-A requires all employers in the city to display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibility poster designed by the Commission on Human Rights.

Reporting on Harassment at City Agencies and Assessing Workplace Climate

  • Intro. 613-A requires all city agencies and the offices of the Mayor, borough presidents, Comptroller, and Public Advocate to assess workplace risk factors associated with sexual harassment as identified by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. In doing so, agencies can better develop responsive strategies to combat sexual harassment.
  • Intro. 664-A, requires all city agencies, as well as the offices of the Mayor, borough presidents, Comptroller and the Public Advocate, to conduct climate surveys to assess the general awareness and knowledge of the city’s equal employment opportunity policy, including but not limited to sexual harassment policies and prevention at city agencies.
  • Intro. 653-A requires all city agencies, as well as the offices of the Mayor, Borough Presidents, Comptroller and Public Advocate, to annually report on incidents of workplace sexual harassment to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
  • Intro. 693 requires that contractors and subcontractors that apply for city contracts include their employment practices, policies and procedures as they relate to preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the employment report required of proposed contractors and subcontractors.

Expanding Sexual Harassment Protections Under The New York City Human Rights Law

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  • Intro. 657-A, amends the New York City Human Rights Law to apply provisions related to gender-based discrimination to all employers, regardless of the number of employees.
  • Intro. 660-A would amend the policy statement of the New York City Human Rights Law to include sexual harassment as a form of discrimination that the New York City Commission on Human Rights shall have the power to eliminate and prevent.
  • Intro. 663-A, amends the New York City Human Rights Law to increase the statute of limitations for filing harassment claims based on unwelcome conduct that intimidates, interferes with, oppresses, threatens, humiliates or degrades a person based on such person’s gender from one year to three years from the time that the alleged harassment occurred.

“Every New Yorker, including the over 330,000 people who work in City government, deserves a safe and respectful workplace that is free of sexual harassment,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “The legislation signed today sends a clear message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that victims have a voice and will be heard.”

“In NYC, “Time’s Up” on sexual harassment!” said Jacqueline Ebanks, Executive Director of NYC Commission on Gender Equity. “Taken together, these 11 bills ensure that every person subject to sexual harassment in this City has appropriate recourse. Equally important, these bills require training of our entire workforce and hold all employers accountable for creating safe workplaces. These are critical steps forward on a seemingly intractable issue. We will never look back.”

“New York City is home to the one of the broadest and most protective anti-discrimination and anti-harassment law in the country and today that law gets even stronger,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “I’m incredibly proud to work for a city that takes sexual harassment claims seriously and proactively works across government to enhance those protections. The bills signed today will go a long way in ensuring that every victim of sexual harassment can get justice under the Law and will allow the Commission to hold perpetrators accountable. I applaud City Council and the sponsors of these bills and look forward to continuing our robust enforcement and public education efforts to ensure that every New Yorker understands their rights and how to report sexual harassment.”

“Paraphrasing Becky Hammon, Assistant Coach of the Spurs: ‘There have to be boundaries. There has to be an environment where everyone can succeed.’ Now the hard work for all of us begins. It’s on us to prove to sexual harassment victims and survivors that we aren’t just checking a box. To prove that the city does have their back. We owe it to all the brave survivors who come forward, to continue to search for ways to interrupt abuses of power,”

“This sweeping legislative package represents the beginning of a real shift toward a culture of respect and accountability,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women, sponsor of Intro. 663-A and 664-A. “Paraphrasing Becky Hammon, Assistant Coach of the Spurs: ‘There have to be boundaries. There has to be an environment where everyone can succeed.’ Now the hard work for all of us begins. It’s on us to prove to sexual harassment victims and survivors that we aren’t just checking a box. To prove that the city does have their back. We owe it to all the brave survivors who come forward, to continue to search for ways to interrupt abuses of power,”

“I want to thank the Mayor for signing this package of legislation to prevent and punish sexual harassment. These are some of the strongest bills in the country and every employee in New York City, whether they work in the private or public sector, deserves protections and a workplace free from any kind of harassment,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, sponsor of 660-A. “With the signing of these bills into law, we want all New Yorkers who deal with harassment to be able to come forward and have City Hall standing up for their rights.”

“As a staunch advocate for women’s rights and gender equality, I’m extremely proud of the signing of the Stop the Sexual Harassment in NYC Act into law. It’s a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen anti-sexual harassment training and expand sexual harassment protections to all employees,” said New York City Council Majority Leader, Laurie A. Cumbo, sponsor of Intro. 630-A and 632-A. “We can’t stop here. I’m deeply committed to lifting the voices, aspirations and power of women who are marginalized, unsupported, defenseless and vulnerable in the workplace, and this legislation will help transform workplace culture across the City.

“I was proud to sponsor Intro 614-A which allows people who have been sexually harassed to have a safe space to begin the process of reporting their complaints. Many victims have gathered the strength to report their abuse, but may not know exactly how or where. The recent reports of sexual harassment highlighted in the media, has been disturbing and I am glad the City of New York will help empower survivors and everyday New Yorkers to know how to move forward without fear. This mandated online informational system catches up with the digital age in which we live while creating a safe and trusting environment for all,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, sponsor of Intro. 614-A.

“Every person whether they work in government or private industry should be able to do their jobs without fear of being sexually harassed,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams, sponsor of Intro. 613-A. “We now know that sexual harassment in the workplace is so prevalent that we need to take active measures to stop it before it begins which is why I am joining my colleagues to bring attention to this important issue. My bill, which will mandate an assessment of risk factors, will help to create a safe work environment for all city employees.”

“As a city, we have an obligation to protect employees both in and out of government. The bills being signed today–including my own mandating that City agencies publicly report workplace sexual harassment each year–are a clear demonstration of New York’s commitment to protect workers, guarantee victims attention they deserve, and confront this ugly epidemic.”

“Across the country, an epidemic of sexual harassment plagues every corner of every industry from L.A. to D.C.,” said Council Member Mark Levine, sponsor of 653-A. “As a city, we have an obligation to protect employees both in and out of government. The bills being signed today–including my own mandating that City agencies publicly report workplace sexual harassment each year–are a clear demonstration of New York’s commitment to protect workers, guarantee victims attention they deserve, and confront this ugly epidemic.”

“I am proud to pass legislation that addresses sexual harassment in the workplace. My legislation extends sexual harassment protection to employees of any company, regardless of its size. City law will now be consistent with State law when it comes to protecting employees from sexual harassment, and the NYC Human Rights Code amended to extend protection to include employers of all sizes,” said Council Member Keith Powers, sponsor of Intro. 657-A. “We are experiencing a watershed moment, and the Council’s focus on these workplace issues is just the tip of the iceberg. We are overdue for change when it comes to equality and sexual harassment. I look forward to working to continue to make much-needed updates to the law to ensure all New Yorkers have equal protection, and I thank the Mayor for supporting such important legislation.” Council Member Powers

“This issue must be taken seriously, and as lawmakers we must do all that we can to ensure that adequate training and resources are provided in the workplace,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, sponsor of Intro. 693. “Now signed into law, the bill that I introduced will change the practices of thousands of organizations and companies. This new law requires that organizations seeking to do business with or receive funding from the city provide details of their practices, policies and procedures as they relate to preventing and addressing sexual harassment. I am proud of this bill and I will continue to fight for legislation that expands protections against sexual harassment and assault for all New Yorkers.”

“The NAACP applauds Mayor Bill de Blasio and this administration for signing legislation to expand sexual harassment protections for New Yorkers,” said Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, New York President of the NAACP. “As a strong advocate for equity and human rights for over 50 years, I believe this legislation is a step in the right direction. –Dr. Hazel N. Dukes

“It’s about time! I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council for your leadership to enact today’s comprehensive and visionary package of reforms. Collectively, this package of legislation sends a strong message that the workplace must be filled with respect and that violating basic principles of decency will no longer be tolerated,” said Carole J. Wacey, President and CEO of Women’s City Club of New York. “Women’s City Club hopes that today’s bold action will prompt even further changes in the private sector–and, throughout society.”

“Planned Parenthood of New York City commends Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council for enacting the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. This is an important and timely first step in addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Requiring anti-sexual harassment training and educating our workforce about bystander intervention and how to safely bring forward complaints are critical to making sure that all people, regardless of gender, are supported and comfortable in their places of work. We look forward to partnering with the City to make safe, ethical, and equitable workplaces a reality for all New Yorkers,” said Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City.

“Recent revelations have exposed the extent to which sexual harassment and abuse continue to be a problem in our society. The legislation signed today will reinforce policies and training programs aimed at creating a positive and harassment-free work environment. New York City employers fully support these goals,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

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