Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “N.Y. Sexual Harassment Regulations in Line for Zoom-Era Update,” by Keshia Clukey.

Following is an excerpt:

New York’s guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment—written before the pandemic made video a routine part of the workday—may get revised to help employers address the behavior of remote workers.

“We’re seeing seismic shifts in the way that we work in very short periods of time,” said Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, an employment attorney at Epstein Becker Green who works with employers and in-house counsel.

“It will be interesting to see if the Department of Labor takes a position on how these rules apply when the conduct is happening over Zoom from someone who’s not within New York State.”

By law, the state’s policy, adopted in 2018, must be updated every four years—a process now underway, beginning with the public weighing in with suggested changes.

Four things to watch as New York updates its policy …

1. Remote-Work Behavior

The state’s current model policy doesn’t focus on how online interactions and the use of video cameras can lead to harassing work environments, Popper said. …

4. Due Process …

Employers are required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy, but they don’t have to use the state’s model as long as their company’s meets or exceeds state standards.

While there’s no strict enforcement of the state policy, if businesses are sued, information sought for a lawsuit likely would include whether they distributed a sexual harassment policy and conducted training in compliance with state law, Popper said.

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