Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Summary of New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws by Subject (beginning from 1995)

Subject Categories

Workplace/Employment/Unemployment Insurance
Workplace Sexual Harassment - A.9507-C/S.7507-C

Provides comprehensive reform to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • By October 9, 2018, all public and private employers must provide a sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees; policy must be provided to employees on an annual basis.
  • By October 9, 2018, all employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis to all employees. The training must comply with the sexual harassment prevention training program developed by the NYS Department of Labor and the NYS Division of Human Rights. (This deadline was postponed to October 9, 2019.)
  • Non-disclosure provisions are prohibited in any employment or settlement agreements that relate to claims of sexual harassment.
  • Mandatory arbitration provisions are prohibited in employment agreements that relate to claims of sexual harassment.
  • Protects employees against sexual harassment by “non-employees,” making employers liable for sexual harassment by contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, if the employer is aware of the behavior and does not address it.

Signed: April 12, 2018  Chapter 412
Effective: subparts have varying effective dates
Amends: State Finance Law new §139-l, §163(7); Civil Practice Law and Rules new §7515, new §5003-b; Public Officers Law new §§17a and 18a; General Obligations Law new §5-336; Labor Law new §201-g; Executive Law new §296-d, 292(4)

Workplace Sexual Harassment Protections - A.5360 Galef/S.2 Valesky

Expands protections against sexual harassment by an employer to include all employers in New York State.  Previously, the law covered employers with four or more employees.

Signed: October 21, 2015 Chapter 418

Effective: November 20, 2015

Amends: Public Health Law §207(1) new paragraph

Civil Rights Protections for Interns - A.8201-A O’Donnell/S.5951-A Krueger

Adds a new section to the NYS Human Rights Law titled, "Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to interns."  Provides for the same protections afforded other specified classes and creates a new section prohibiting sexual harassment of interns by employers, codifying both the quid pro quo and hostile environment tests.

Signed:  July 22, 2014 Chapter 97

Effective:  July 22, 2014

Amends:  Executive Law to add a new §296-c

Employment Discrimination (A.755 Paulin-A/S.958-B Johnson)

Establishes victims of domestic violence as a protected class in the employment provisions of the NYS human rights law. The new law prevents an employer from firing or refusing to hire an individual based on their status as a victim of domestic violence and prevents discrimination in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

Signed: 2009 Chapter 80

Effective: July 7, 2009

Amends: Executive Law §§296(1)(a); 292(34)

Unemployment Insurance Benefits/”Compelling Family Reason” (A.8273 Meng/S.4110-A Onorato)

Makes several amendments to the Labor Law, including extending unemployment benefits in periods of high unemployment and providing benefits to individuals who separate from employment for a “compelling family reason.” A compelling family reason includes domestic violence and expands prior law, which covered victims, to include cases where the safety of an immediate family member is at risk.

Signed: 2009 Chapter 35

Effective: May 20, 2009

Amends: Labor Law §§593(1); 596(2)(e); 596(5); 601

Workplace Violence Programs/ Public Employers (S.6441 Spano/A.9691 John)

Requires public employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence. Any public employee, or representative of public employees, who believes that a serious violation of a safety or health standard exists, or an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by the Department of Labor. Mandates that the Commissioner of Labor enforce this requirement. Domestic violence is not specifically identified in the legislation.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 82

Effective: October 5, 2006

Amends: Labor Law §27-b

Unemployment Insurance Benefits (A.2309-B Sidikman/S.827-B Marcellino)

Provides that in cases where a victim of domestic violence voluntarily separates from employment as a result of the abuse, separation may be deemed for good cause for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits.

Signed: 1999 Chapter 268

Effective: July 26, 1999

Amends: Labor Law §593(1)(a)

Model Workplace Violence Policy (A.8289 Nolan/S.4853-A Rath)

Requires the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, with the assistance of the Department of Labor and a task force representing the concerns of employers, employees and domestic violence advocates to develop a model domestic violence employee awareness and assistance policy for businesses in New York State. The Office will provide information and technical support to businesses and will survey businesses, in four years, to determine to what extent the model policy is adopted.

Signed: 1997 Chapter 368

Effective: February 1, 1998

Amends: Labor Law §10-b

Executive Law §§575(3)(e); 575(4)(b); 575(9)

Department of Labor Study (S.4584 Hoblock/A.4823 Feldman)

Directs the Department of Labor to study the impact of domestic violence on employment, including victims forced to leave employment. Requires a review of case histories where unemployment compensation was sought. In preparing the study, the Commissioner is required to consult with the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, DSS, Division for Women and members of the public.

Signed: 1995 Chapter 527

Effective: August 2, 1995

Amends: Labor Law §10-a