On August 12, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation amending the New York State Human Rights Law (the “NYSHRL”), changing the State law’s previous adherence to certain fundamental principles of federal law concerning employment harassment generally, including the standard for determining employer liability for “hostile work environment” discrimination claims and the availability of punitive damages, among other issues. Whereas New York courts have historically interpreted the NYSHRL based on interpretations of claims filed under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, the new amendments will alter the applicability of many significant precedents.

The amendment addresses workplace harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment, against employees in any protected group. Claims of harassment based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, or claims based on an employee’s opposition to such misconduct, are subject to the new provisions.

To begin with, the revised NYSHRL will now cover employers of all sizes, and even includes new protections for domestic workers, who will now be protected on the same grounds as other types of employees. Some of the law’s provisions take effect immediately, others within 60 days or 120 days of the law’s passage. Broadly stated, the law purports to provide “increased protections for protected classes and special protections for employees who have been sexually harassed.”

Click here for the full GT Alert, “Attention New York Employers: When It Comes to Workplace Harassment, Times Are Changing.”

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Photo of Eric Sigda Eric Sigda

focuses on the representation of management in litigating federal and state employment matters including claims involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation, breach of contract, wage and hour class actions, and misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of restrictive covenants.

Photo of Noel A. Lesica Noel A. Lesica

Noel A. Lesica advises clients on a wide range of employment law issues, representing employers before administrative agencies and state and federal courts. Noel brings to her practice the added perspective gained from her deep in-house experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where she

Noel A. Lesica advises clients on a wide range of employment law issues, representing employers before administrative agencies and state and federal courts. Noel brings to her practice the added perspective gained from her deep in-house experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where she helped clients manage risk and achieve compliance while marketing and selling product in a highly regulated environment.

Building upon the litigation experience she acquired before working in-house, Noel focuses her practice on a variety of workplace challenges facing employers and Human Resources professionals, including preventing and managing claims of discrimination, unlawful harassment and retaliation.

Noel enjoys public speaking, and regularly trains management and staff on the meaning and consequences of unlawful workplace harassment, with a focus on preventing sexual harassment claims.

Noel is committed to pro bono service, and has experience representing clients in domestic violence contempt matters.

Photo of Michael J. Slocum Michael J. Slocum

Michael J. Slocum focuses his practice on labor and employment law, including the defense of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge and whistleblower claims. Michael has represented employers in a broad array of industries, including health care and life sciences, pharmaceutical, private security, and retail,

Michael J. Slocum focuses his practice on labor and employment law, including the defense of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge and whistleblower claims. Michael has represented employers in a broad array of industries, including health care and life sciences, pharmaceutical, private security, and retail, and has experience defending against both individual employee claims and class actions.

Michael has written and spoken numerous times on a multitude of issues facing employers in diverse industries. In addition to many client alerts and online articles, Michael was a contributing author to “Avoiding Liability for Unconscious Bias and Subtle Discrimination” published in the New Jersey Law Journal in December 2008, as well as a chapter on the False Claims Act in the 2010 edition of “Health Law and Compliance Update.” Michael was a speaker at a September 2008 seminar “The New Jersey FCA: Perspectives and Insight,” as well as the firm’s May 2013 “Taking Care of Business: An Annual Update on Labor and Employment Law” seminar. More recently, Law 360 published Michael’s article “NYC Earned Sick Time Act May Hit Small Business Hardest” in May 2014, and his article “NJ Supreme Court Reaffirms ‘Faithless Servant’ Doctrine” in November 2015. Michael also authored “EEOC Proposes Collecting Pay Data to Combat ‘Pay Discrimination,’” published by the New Jersey Law Journal in March 2016, and well as “Revisiting the Great Joint Employment Debate,” published by the New Jersey Law Journal in April 2018.

Prior to joining the firm, Michael practiced in the litigation department of a national firm focused on labor and employment matters in the life sciences industry, where he served as Editor of that firm’s “False Claims Act Quarterly.” He has experience representing clients at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts, as well as before a variety of state and federal administrative agencies.

Photo of Jerrold Goldberg Jerrold Goldberg

Jerrold F. Goldberg Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Labor-Management Relations group. He has been practicing in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law since 1979, including the traditional labor/union-management area, employment discrimination, executive employment, severance agreements and wage and hour…

Jerrold F. Goldberg Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Labor-Management Relations group. He has been practicing in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law since 1979, including the traditional labor/union-management area, employment discrimination, executive employment, severance agreements and wage and hour laws. Jerry exclusively represents management clients primarily in the real estate and hospitality industries in transactional matters, including commercial and residential building and hotel sales and purchases, administrative compliance, such as 421-a prevailing wage issues, and lease, property management and concessionaire relationships, as well as all aspects of labor and employment litigation. This includes traditional labor litigation, such as union management arbitration, N.L.R.B. representation and unfair labor practice proceedings, and strike and picketing injunctive actions, wage and hour litigation involving misclassification, overtime and service charge/gratuity issues, and employment discrimination and restrictive covenant litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.