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April 23, 2019

SHRM North Country Presentation: Sexual Harassment Law Update

The “Me Too" movement created a chain reaction that ultimately led to New York adopting one of the most progressive sexual harassment prevention laws in the country. The new legislation creates new sources of liability and will undoubtedly result in more sexual harassment claims against employers, as they're now required to educate employees on how to file a sexual harassment claim against the employer.

With the NYS Senate, Assembly, and Governor’s offices controlled by the same political party, New York is on the verge of enacting additional legislation that will reduce the standard for employees to prove sexual harassment under the NYS Human Rights Law (i.e., what currently is not considered sexual harassment that will be in the future, should the new legislation pass).

This seminar will provide a comprehensive review of the sources of liabilities for employers under federal, state, and local law for sexual harassment in the workplace.

The seminar will cover the following topics:

  1. Liability sources
    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
    • NYS Human Rights Law
    • NYS Labor Law
    • NYS Workers’ Compensation Law
    • Local laws
  2. Individual and employer sexual-harassment liability
    • Improper conduct
    • Failure to conduct mandated sexual harassment prevention training
    • Improper conduct during mandated training
    • Failure to have mandated sexual harassment prevention policy
    • Failure to follow mandated sexual harassment prevention policy
    • Mishandling of sexual harassment investigation
    • Retaliation: A trap for owners
    • Independent-contractor liability
  3. Defensive use of internal policies and training
    • Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth & Faragher v. City of Boca Raton defense
    • Proper internal policies
    • Proper internal training
    • Handling independent contractors

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