Hochul signs sexual harassment legislation and attacks Andrew Cuomo

governor Kathy Hochul signed three bills on Wednesday to better address sexual harassment in the workplace and grappled with its predecessor Andrew CuomoShe said she “cleaned the house” after succeeding him.

“I’m proud to sign legislation addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and say my administration has cleaned the house once and for all. This is a new day in New York,” Hochul said during a bill signing ceremony at the Javits Center as part of Women’s History Month.

“We put in place an HR department, a real one, so real complaints can be heard from real people who will then act. We actually have an outside law firm that people can complain to, so there’s no point in anyone in my administration being able to cover things up or sweep things under the rug. Women no longer have to live in fear in any workplace, especially not in our administration.”

One of the bills she approved makes it a violation of state human rights law to release personnel records as a means of retaliating or downplaying the claims of victims of workplace discrimination. The measure was proposed by Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) and Rep. Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas (D-Queens).

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law, which focuses on issues of sexual harassment, into law during a Women's History Month celebration at the Javits Center.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law, which focuses on issues of sexual harassment, into law during a Women’s History Month celebration at the Javits Center.
Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor Kathy Hochul
Then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has made a number of public appearances while contemplating a political comeback.
AP Photo/Seth Little, file

Cuomo, the former three-year governor, resigned under threatened impeachment last summer after 11 women accused him of harassment or misconduct. A devastating report from the Attorney General Letitia James’ The office confirmed the allegations.

Cuomo’s office had leaked former employee Lindsey Boylan to discredit her after she accused the ex-governor of sexually harassing her. The bill would prohibit such release of a suspected victim’s employment records.

The new law also provides additional opportunities for victims of wrongful retaliation by allowing them to file a complaint with the Attorney General, who can file a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul vowed women “will not live in fear in any workplace” after signing into law three laws dealing with sexual harassment.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock
Andrew Gounardes, South Brooklyn State Senator.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes introduced a measure that would have prevented former Governor Andrew Cuomo from disclosing personnel records.

Another bill passed by Hochul stipulates that all state government employers – executive, legislative and judicial – are subject to human rights law. The bill was introduced by Gounardes and Rep. Yuh Line-Niou (D-Manhattan).

State officials will not be able to shirk responsibility for harassment of public employees and ensure New York’s comprehensive anti-harassment rules protect both public and private workers, Hochul said.

A third measure, sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) and Rep. Line-Nio, requires the state Department of Human Rights to establish a toll-free confidential hotline for complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou speaks.
MP Yuh Line-Niou campaigned for all government employees to be subject to human rights law.
Robert Mueller

The hotline connects them to pro bono attorneys for legal advice. Hochul signs sexual harassment legislation and attacks Andrew Cuomo


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