ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — About one in 10 adults experience quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment during their career, according to a study by Cornell University. What exactly is New York doing to address this issue?
The Department of Labor will be working with the Division of Human Rights to update New York’s sexual harassment prevention policy, which requires revisions every four years.
“All New Yorkers should know what their rights are in the workplace and everyone is entitled to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment, so New York state has one of the strongest if not the strongest laws in the nation regarding insuring a safe workplace for all,” said Division of Human Rights Commissioner, Maria Imperial.
Additionally, the Commissioner says retaliation provisions have become stronger in New York allowing more survivors to report the crime without fear of punishment.
However, Max Micallef Public Policy Director at NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault says submitting a sexual harassments claim is difficult, “It takes an emotional toll, a mental toll on the victims, the survivors at hand, it’s not some easy process where it’s reported and it’s taken care of, on multiple different levels it is quite the burden on the victim.”
But the Commissioner says the Division of Human Rights tries to make reporting an assault as easy as possible, “The division was actually created as an alternative to the court system. People can file here without paying any fee without being represented by an attorney as well so again we try to be as sensitive as possible.”
In regards to revisions in the policy, the Department of Labor said, “The pandemic has changed the workplace forever. With more New Yorkers working remotely… it is important that we carefully examine the current sexual harassment policies to ensure that all New Yorkers, no matter where they operate, continue to receive the fullest protection while on the job in any environment.”
Feedback is being accepted on the state’s current Sexual harassment model until September 20, 2022.