June 4, 2018

Assembly Passes Legislation Establishing Discrimination Prevention and Training Policies

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Tremaine Wright today announced passage of legislation to eliminate discrimination in the workplace by establishing prevention and training policies. The legislation (A.10461, Wright) would expand the existing state sexual harassment law, passed in the 2018 budget, to all discrimination.

"No one should be forced to face discrimination - especially at work," Speaker Heastie said. "The Assembly Majority is dedicated to ensuring that our laws reflect that value, and will continue fighting for legislation to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers."

"Discrimination hurts people, it is toxic in the workplace, and it hurts us as a state," Assemblymember Wright said. "I am proud that my legislation will put into place a mechanism to help prevent workplace discrimination, and to ensure people and organizations have the tools they need to appropriately handle cases of discrimination when they arise."

This bill would establish a model policy and model training program to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, age, disability, military status, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics or domestic violence victim status. Previously, the law only established model policies and training programs for sexual harassment.

"Discrimination has no place in New York State," said Governmental Operations Committee Chair Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes. "Today's legislation is an important step in making sure that workers around the state have safeguards in place to protect them when they go to work."

"This anti-discrimination legislation is overdue," said Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol. "The Assembly Majority will keep pushing for legislation that will protect New York's workers and help prevent discrimination of all kinds."

The bill would also require businesses submitting bids to any state or public department for services performed or the sale of goods to have a written policy implemented addressing discrimination prevention in the workplace. It would also prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses related to discrimination in the workplace. If a state agency or public entity pays an award in a discrimination claim, the legislation would require the employee to personally reimburse the state agencies or public entities within 90 days of the payment. Finally, the bill would expand the Human Rights Law to all employers in the state and authorize the Attorney General to bring action or prosecute cases of discrimination.