Risk Management » New York State Assembly Introduces Legislation Empowering Employees to Sue Over Abusive Work Environments

New York State Assembly Introduces Legislation Empowering Employees to Sue Over Abusive Work Environments

New York State Assembly Introduces Legislation Empowering Employees to Sue Over Abusive Work Environments

February 6, 2024

A new bill, A.B. 8906, has been introduced in the New York State Assembly with the aim of granting more power to employees who face abusive work environments, according to an article in Business Insurance. The proposed legislation, which has been referred to the state labor committee, would allow individuals to file civil lawsuits against their employers.

This legislation intends to offer legal protection to those who have faced mistreatment at work, even if it is not based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or age. Unlike the current employment discrimination statutes, the bill asserts that protection from abusive work environments should not be limited to actions that are related to protected class status.

The proposed legislation defines an abusive work environment as a condition in which an employer or one or more employees, with the intent to cause distress or pain, subject an employee to abusive conduct resulting in physical and/or psychological harm. The bill contends that current workers’ compensation provisions and common law tort law are insufficient in deterring such mistreatment and providing adequate redress to affected employees.

In addition to allowing employees to seek legal recourse, the bill introduces legal incentives for employers to proactively prevent and address abusive mistreatment within the workplace. The Senate version of the bill was introduced on January 13, reflecting a bipartisan effort to address and rectify issues related to workplace abuse in the state of New York.

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