New York State and New York City have new laws to battle sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are an employer doing business in New York State or in New York City, you need to be aware of your obligations under both state and city law and comply with their requirements to avoid fines and other potential liability. If you are an employee, you should be aware that your right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace has been expanded.
Whether you are an employer or an employee in New York, it is important to understand the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees. For employers, treating non-exempt employees as exempt could end up costing thousands of dollars in back pay, liquidated damages, and legal fees. For employees, the distinction between the two impacts your rights under federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws. Non-exempt employees generally must be paid at least the minimum wage for each hour of work and one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour in excess of 40 per week. However, as explained below, some employees are exempt from the minimum wage requirement, overtime wage requirement, or both.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by federal, state, and New York City laws. However, the laws differ in significant ways.