Employers in New York City should be aware of the expansion of the New York City Human Rights Law. The Stop Sexual Harassment Act was signed into law on May 9 by Mayor Bill de Blasio and deals with gender-based harassment. Sept. 6 was the deadline for employers to post anti-sexual harassment notices in the workplace in both Spanish and English.
Pediatric offices in New York may want to take steps to ensure they have policies in place about sexual harassment. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 33 percent of female physicians say they have experienced sexual harassment while the number of men filing complaints is on the rise.
Companies in New York and throughout the nation could see a gain in productivity by being more inclusive. Compared to companies that had all-male boards, those with even a single female board member saw a 15 percent increase in productivity. This was according to data from Peterson Institute for International Economics. In addition, businesses could see a reduction in legal costs and a greater ability to hire quality talent.
New York businesses should work to prevent workplace sexual harassment from happening so that they can protect their workers while also avoiding potential liability. There are several steps that companies can take to help to do this.
For some, a sexual harassment lawsuit is a chance to make a quick payday regardless of the facts in the matter. For New York business owners and top executives that are accused of harassment, it can do damage to their reputations as well as their bank accounts even if the allegation is false. The first step in defending against such a claim is to meet with an attorney who has experience handling such cases.
From July 2016 to June 2017, Microsoft's chief people officer said that the company received 83 complaints of sexual harassment in the United States. Furthermore, she claimed that nearly half were found to be partially or fully supported following an investigation. The memo was believed to be an effort to show people in New York and elsewhere that the company takes sexual harassment seriously.
It isn't uncommon for employees from the same company to begin romantic relationships with each other. However, employers in New York and around the country are taking steps to ensure that the business is protected if the relationship goes bad. For instance, some companies are asking employees to sign documents saying that each party consented to the relationship. Others have taken more general steps to let employees know what is expected of them if a relationship doesn't work out.
Companies in New York can take steps to protect themselves against harassment suits by strengthening their anti-harassment policies in a number of ways. For example, a policy should clearly state that reports can be made not just by people who are harassed but by those who witness harassment as well. Furthermore, employees should understand that work harassment is not always sexual in nature but could also be based on factors such as a person's religion, race and national origin.
Some New York employers might have an issue with sexual harassment in the workplace and not realize it. According to the results of one survey conducted by CareerBuilder, almost three-fourths of people who are sexually harassed at work never report it.
Sexual harassment in the workplace has become a major issue with film producer Harvey Weinstein facing allegations and a "me too" hashtag on social media in which people recount their own experiences with being sexually harassed. Among employees, there could be disagreement about what constitutes sexual harassment, and this could lead to problems for New York employers who are trying to develop a sexual harassment policy. Reuters/Ipsos conducted an online opinion poll from Dec. 13 to 18 and found that most people agreed that kissing and groping without consent was sexual harassment but were divided on other acts.