Proposal to combat sexual harassment in the workplace

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled out a few more proposals on Tuesday ahead of his State of the State address that he will be giving on Wednesday.

The hot-button issue of workplace sexual harassment will be a talking point in his address.

“So often in the past things have been swept under the rug and it’s time for us to stand up and say that’s not acceptable,” Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said.

It is no secret that Senators and Assemblymembers in the state have faced sexual harassment charges in the past. Often times, the cost of the settlements come at the expense of taxpayers. Yet, as Sen. Breslin explains, it’s time for things to change and for legislators to be held responsible.

“I have people that work for me. I am responsible for their actions. So if I know that they are doing something unacceptable, I have a responsibility immediately to have that stopped. I don’t think that has been as clear in the past as it should be.”

In the legislation, some of these confusing aspects to the sexual harassment policies would be cleared up by having a uniform code for both houses. Taxpayer money would also be prevented from being used for settlements in sexual harassment cases.

In response to the proposal, Senate Democrats released a package of bills they will be pushing for this session relating to sexual harassment. These bills are similar to the legislation the Gov. Cuomo is proposing. It would have public officials who are convicted of sexual harassment held to a higher standard by having them pay a $10,000 fine.

Additionally, companies seeking government contracts will be required to disclose sexual harassment violations.

The session officially begins on Wednesday and Sen. Breslin says that he will be pushing to get these passed soon.

“It’s mandatory. It get’s done quickly, otherwise, you get on to other things.”

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