Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Strengthening the New York State Human Rights Law

Today, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (A8421 / S6577) that substantially strengthens the New York State Human Rights Law, particularly with respect to sexual harassment.

Among other things, the legislation:

  • Eliminates the “severe or pervasive” standard for hostile work environment claims;
  • Eliminates the so-called “Faragher/Ellerth defense” to hostile work environment claims, in that “[t]he fact that [a plaintiff] did not make a complaint about the harassment to [their] employer … shall not be determinative of whether such employer … shall be liable”; and
  • Provides that an employee need not “demonstrate the existence of an individual to whom the employee’s treatment must be compared” in order to make out a claim.