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USState officials tell lawmakers they must 'remain neutral' on proposals strengthening New York's sexual harassment laws

12:35  25 may  2019
12:35  25 may  2019 Source:   nydailynews.com

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new york state senator Alessandra Biaggi. Chair of Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) pleaded with the pair, whose agency is tasked with taking complaints of sexual harassment from victims statewide, to aid the lawmakers as they prepare a final push to

ALBANY — For decades, sexual harassment was the State Capitol’ s worst-kept secret. Even as women climbed the ranks of political power and And on Wednesday, lawmakers passed sweeping anti- harassment legislation that supporters said would make New York ’ s laws among the most

State officials tell lawmakers they must 'remain neutral' on proposals strengthening New York's sexual harassment laws© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E A survivor of sexual assault holds her hands as she speaks during an interview in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Various studies have found that 7 in 10 girls endure some form of sexual harassment by age 18, and 1 in 4 will be sexually abused. Experts believe the rates are higher for girls of color. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

State officials frustrated lawmakers at a public hearing Friday by refusing to weigh in on legislation aimed at strengthening New York’s sexual harassment laws.

Division of Human Rights deputy commissioners Melissa Franco and Gina Martinez drew fire from elected officials at the Manhattan listening session for remaining "neutral” when asked about a package of proposed bills that would end rules that sexual harassment must meet the high bar of being “severe or pervasive” to warrant legal action.

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The New York State Senate today passed legislation that is the most comprehensive response yet to sexual harassment in New York ’ s workplaces. Legislation Combats Sexual Harassment in the Public and Private Sectors to Create Safer Workplaces for All Employees.

New York Attorney General Letitia James congratulated lawmakers for passing Wednesday’ s legislation. “This sexual harassment bill updates our state ’ s This sexual harassment bill updates our state ’ s harassment laws by establishing stronger protections for employees & steps-up our

The bills would also improve workers’ protections, extend statutes of limitation and amend the state Constitution to prohibit sex discrimination.

“We’re to remain neutral and enforce the laws as they are. Any opinion we gave would be inappropriate … While you would like us to say any recommendations, in order for us to remain neutral, we can’t," Martinez said.

Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) pleaded with the pair, whose agency is tasked with taking complaints of sexual harassment from victims statewide, to aid the lawmakers as they prepare a final push to pass the sweeping anti-harassment legislation by the end of the Legislature’s session next month.

“I would actually disagree ... It is your job not to be neutral on this legislation. I would implore you to not be neutral on the laws,” Biaggi said.

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The New York State Senate will act today on legislation that is the most comprehensive response yet to sexual harassment in New York ’ s workplaces. The major reforms passed today include: establishing a statutory definition of sexual harassment ; prohibiting the anonymity of the accused in

Will New York State make resources available for training in languages other than English? How often must employees receive sexual harassment training? A2. Employees must be trained at least once per year. A8. New York State law requires all sexual harassment training to be interactive.

The freshman Senator led a coalition of Democrats from both the Assembly and Senate through a marathon, three-hour opening salvo aimed at the officials during the second public hearing on sexual harassment held this legislative session.

The hearing, a follow-up to an historic 11-hour-long hearing held in the state capital in February, was prompted by the lobbying of the Sexual Harassment Working Group. The alliance of ex-legislative aides survived, witnessed or reported harassment and abuse at the hands of their former bosses, including former Assembly members Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner, former Counsel to Speaker Sheldon Silver Michael Boxley, and former Sen. Jeff Klein.

The group says the 10-bill package on the table is needed to stop harassment and ensure complaints are taken seriously.

The silence of Franco and Martinez, who noted that the number of sexual harassment complaints with the state agency has increased by 62% since 2016, was contrasted by the testimony of New York City human rights official Dana Sussman, advocates and others who said there is no reason why the state should not adopt the broader protections already in place in the city.

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None filed official complaints of harassment ; the scrutiny came in response to investigative reporting by The The new speaker rejected the plan. Experts say employees of large private companies — and those in Congressional employees must undergo confidential mediation before their harassment

Phillips & Associates - New York City sexual harassment law firm, representing clients who have been The New York State Human Rights Law (HRL) protects workers from unlawful discrimination based on My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was.

The city did away with the “severe or pervasive” standard in 2016 and defines harassment as when a person is “treated less well than other employees because of gender” or the offending conduct involves more than “petty slights or trivial inconveniences."

Some in the business world oppose the legislation. Frank Kerbein, director of the Center for Human Resources at The Business Council of New York State, told Politico he’s concerned the changes could lead to unnecessary lawsuits.

“Most of this behavior can be stopped by talking to the person and correcting their behavior,” Kerbein said.

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) spoke of her own sexual assault as she admonished state officials for the language they uses when discussing statutes of limitation after a comment about memories going stale over time.

“I will say that it took over 20 year and before I could even speak up about it,” she said. "And there’s has not been a single moment where I have not lived with it. Memories of it are very fresh and they will continue to be so. I remember what he smelled like, I remember what he looked like, I remember the color of the desk that I was grabbing onto. I just want to put that out here before we continue, it’s using that kind of language.”

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