FINCH LEADS EFFORT TO MAKE NEW YORK THE FIRST STATE TO DEFINE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE LAW
Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) is leading an effort to make New York the first state to define sexual harassment in the law and provide codified victim protections. The legislation, dubbed the “Woman’s Workplace Protection Act,” clearly defines what constitutes sexual harassment, provides punitive damages for victims and expands protections for whistleblowers.
“Sexual harassment is among the most abhorrent of activities,” said Finch. “Too often, individuals in powerful positions in the workplace, frequently men, use their status to intimidate their subordinates. Worse yet, the victims of this type of behavior are often contrived to silence for fear of reprisal. This bill seeks to offer all victims an outlet where they will be free from shunning and will not be compelled to suffer continued offences at the whim of employers or co-workers.”
Recently, the state legislature has been under intense scrutiny relating to incidents involving eminent and powerful members. The “Woman’s Workplace Protection Act” seeks to prevent the recurrence of such deplorable events, not only in the legislature, but in all work environments.
While the bill seeks to put a halt to the sexual harassment of all parties in the workplace, it cites a 2008 study conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, which states that 31 percent of female workers have experienced sexual harassment at work. Of the 31 percent of women, 62 percent indicated to having taken no action. This reality demonstrates how under-reported sexual harassment in the workplace is, as well as the need for a safe and codified reporting method free of reprisal for victims.
The bill defines sexual harassment as laid down in the guidelines established by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).