NYS govt should set best example on workplace sexual harassment

Senator Dan Stec is cosponsoring the “Employees in the Workforce Protections Package,” comprising four bills aimed at deterring and addressing sexual harassment in state government workplaces.

“As a young naval officer, the axiom ‘lead by example’ was drilled into my head,” said Stec. “Now, as a parent and state legislator, the same applies. Regardless of who you are, your words and actions have an impact on the lives of others. But those enacting the laws of our state should be held to the highest standard of accountability.

"The sexual harassment allegations made by eight women against Governor Cuomo are very troubling,” said Stec. “There are now multiple investigations into these claims. While the investigations proceed, lawmakers can and should respond in a proactive way to set a better example. There should be no ambiguity on what sexual harassment is, why it should never happen and, if it does, what should be done.”

The “Employees in the Workforce Protections Package” would:

- Allow state employees to bring a complaint with regard to an allegation of sexual harassment in employment within one year of their employment termination with such employer (S5769, Senator Pam Helming);

- Establish an independent commission aimed at increasing transparency and more effectively combating sexual harassment in state government (S2948a, Senator Sue Serino);

- Protect employees from retaliatory actions of an employer or co-employees by criminalizing the use of confidential employee personnel files for the purposes of harassment, intimidation or embarrassment (S5770, Senator Daphne Jordan); and

- Require statewide office holders and members of the state Legislature sign a certificate under penalty of perjury attesting to the individual’s completion of sexual harassment training, which would be posted on the Senate and Assembly websites within 30 days of completion (S5765, Senator Alexis Weik).

All of the proposed bills have been referred to various senate committees for review.