Signs of the Times

Every employer in New York City will have to post an anti-sexual harassment sign where workers gather by 120 days after new legislation was signed by Mayor de Blasio Wednesday. The Commission on Human Rights is supposed to promulgate the rules and sign before the effective date. The Mayor also signed a law requiring every employer with 15 or more employees to require the employees to take anti-sexual harassment training classes, effective April 1, 2019.

In addition, the City Council, Wednesday, passed a slew of new fire safety bills that the Mayor is expected to sign into law. Int. 608 will require building owners to post a notice to tenants to close doors behind them when escaping a fire. Int. 602 requires all apartment entry and stair doors to be self closing by July 31, 2021. There were exceptions previously depending on year and type of construction. Int. 604 provides that after January 1, 2021, new or replacement smoke detectors within 20 feet of a kitchen meet reference standards for limiting false alarms when cooking—a standard some photoelectric detectors may meet now. Finally, Int. 610 will require annual notices to tenants that if they have children under six, the owner will provide stove knob covers for gas stoves, unless there is no cover that fits the stove model. This is the Council’s reaction to a recent tragic fire started by a child playing with a stove, although there is no research that shows that the covers work or for what aged children. It will go into effect 180 days after the Mayor enacts it.

Building owner Kamran Hakim is appealing the dismissal of his libel suit against Public Advocate Letitia James for putting him on the Worst Landlords list despite the fact that the buildings cited were vacant and slated for demolition. The judge apparently said it wasn’t libel because it was only her “opinion” that she published.

James, meanwhile, is lobbying hard to get named as a replacement for disgraced State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

New York City is planning to end contracts on 1700 cluster housing units for the homeless by August, with the expectation that most of the units will fall back under rent stabilization after being temporarily exempt.

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