In early 2022, New York State entered S.812B/A.2035B into law, which amended the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Executive Law § 296, to require a statewide toll-free, confidential hotline (the “Hotline”) for the lodging of complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.  On July 19, 2022, Governor Hochul announced the launch of the Hotline (1-800-427-2773 or 1-800-HARASS-3).

The Hotline is operated by the New York State Division of Human Rights (the “Division”).  The Hotline will be staffed during regular business hours and provide any caller with information on how to file a complaint with the Division. In addition, if the caller is interested, the Hotline will provide information regarding pro bono attorneys who may be able to assist and counsel complainants.  These referrals are intended to supplement (not replace) the Division’s normal complaint procedures as the new law expressly forbids attorneys who provide advice on the Hotline from soliciting further representation of any individuals whom they counsel.

Employers should immediately update all sexual harassment materials, including employee handbooks, policies, and other postings provided to employees, to include information about the Hotline.