In March of 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation directing the New York State Division of Human Rights (“DHR”) to establish a toll-free confidential hotline designed to provide counsel and assistance to individuals with complaints of workplace sexual harassment. On July 19, 2022, Governor Hochul announced the new hotline’s launch.
Employees in New York state may now call 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773) for issues relating to workplace sexual harassment. As reported in our earlier alert on workplace anti-harassment, the hotline is open during regular business hours and staffed by pro bono attorneys “experienced in providing counsel related to sexual harassment matters.”
The DHR’s website provides additional details regarding the operation of the hotline:
The hotline will be operated by staff at the Division’s Office of Sexual Harassment Issues (OSHI) during regular business hours. Division staff will provide the callers with information about filing a sexual harassment complaint with the agency and, if the caller is interested in discussing their case with an attorney, the hotline will provide them with the name(s) and contact information of an attorney who is experienced in providing counsel related to workplace sexual harassment and who has volunteered to provide limited pro bono assistance.
Next Steps for Employers to Share Hotline Information
The law requires the DHR to disseminate information about the hotline, including by working with the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) “to ensure that information on the hotline is included in any materials employers must post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment.” This means that employers should expect an update to the DHR and DOL’s model sexual harassment prevention materials. In the meantime, employers should update their sexual harassment policies and related materials to include the new hotline number.
We expect New York state will issue further guidance regarding the hotline, and we will provide an update once this occurs.
If you have any questions, please contact the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually work.
This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.
Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.