New York Lifts Barrier for Bringing Sexual Harassment Claims


Two Fordham Law alums, NY state Senator Alessandra Biaggi ’12, and NY state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas ’02, drafted and successfully pushed through legislation that provides the most comprehensive protection against workplace harassment to date. As reported by Bloomberg Law, the legislation was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on Aug. 12 and will no longer require conduct to be considered “severe or pervasive” for it to be challenged in court and will extend the statute of limitations for claims filed from one to three years.

New York is the third state, following California and Delaware, to pass sexual harassment legislation in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Many businesses already have updated their policies to ban what’s considered improper behavior, but they will now be required to do so in these states, ensuring their anti-discrimination polices are up to date and meet the new standard.

New York’s legislation overwhelmingly passed 109-19 in the state Assembly and 62-0 in the state Senate on June 19.

“With the signing of this legislation, employers across all sectors will be held accountable for addressing all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and survivors will be given the necessary time to report complaints and seek the justice they deserve,” bill sponsor state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D) said in a released statement.

The measure requires courts to interpret the state Human Rights Law liberally regardless of federal rollback of rights, according to the governor’s office.

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