Chapter 138 of the Laws of 2022 (codified at Human Rights Law (Executive Law, Article 15) § 295.18, attached hereto), provides that the New York State Division of Human Rights (the Division) shall “establish a toll-free confidential hotline to provide individuals with complaints of workplace sexual harassment counsel and assistance.”
The Division is actively working to recruit volunteer attorneys experienced in providing counsel related to sexual harassment matters to provide limited pro bono assistance to individuals who contact the hotline.
The hotline will be operated by staff at the Division’s Office of Sexual Harassment Issues (OSHI) during regular business hours. Division staff will provide the callers with information about filing a sexual harassment complaint with the agency and, if the caller is interested in discussing their case with an attorney, the hotline will provide them with the name(s) and contact information of an attorney who is experienced in providing counsel related to workplace sexual harassment and who has volunteered to provide limited pro bono assistance.
The hotline shall comply with all of the requirements for a program operated under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, 12 NYCRR, Rule 6.5 (Participation in limited pro bono legal service programs, attached hereto).
Attorneys may not solicit, nor permit employees or agents of the attorneys to solicit on the attorney's behalf, further representation of any individuals they advise through the hotline relating to discussed sexual harassment complaint.
The referrals are to provide timely legal advice to those experiencing workplace sexual harassment but will not replace any of the Division’s normal complaint processing procedures, which do not require representation by counsel.
Requirements for Participation
Attorneys who are interested in volunteering will be asked to provide contact information and to affirm that:
- They are a member in good standing of the New York State Bar;
- They are experienced in providing counsel related to workplace sexual harassment matters;
- They agree to provide limited pro bono legal counsel and assistance as described herein;
- They will abide by the requirements of 12 NYCRR, Rule 6.5 (attached);
- They understand that they are providing short-term limited legal advice free of charge, with no expectation that the assistance will continue beyond what is necessary to provide such counsel and assistance (see Rule 6.5);
- They will obtain the client's informed consent to the limited scope of the consultation (see Rule 6.5);
- They will not solicit, nor permit an employee or agent to solicit on their behalf, further representation of any individuals they advise through the hotline relating to the discussed sexual harassment complaint.