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Galef Introduces Legislation Creating Uniform Sexual Harassment Policy

Sandy Galef
Sandy Galef Photo Credit: Contributed

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) thinks the state's sexual harassment policy needs an overhaul.

Galef is introducing legislation that would create a uniform policy for all state government employees and elected officials in the legislature. The proposal comes in the wake of numerous high profile men, including Matt Lauer, Louis CK, and Senator Al Franken being accused of sexual misconduct.

Galef’s legislation would task the Division of Human Rights to develop and implement a standard complaint reporting requirement and investigation procedure for all employees of state agencies, offices, departments, including the Executive Office, as well the members and employees of the State Assembly and Senate.

“Sexual harassment has no place in society, much less in our state government," Galef said. "We are at a watershed moment in our country where actions that might have been ‘normal’ behavior in the past are no longer acceptable and cannot be tolerated. As more people come forward to report their abuse, there is an even greater need to have clear-cut strategies to carry out thorough investigations that bring timely justice to either the rightful accuser or the wrongly accused.”

In the bill, investigations would take no more than 90 days to complete after the initial complaint report, with a final determination by the Division of Human Rights to be handed down within 30 days thereafter. The legislation also throws out nondisclosure agreements.

“In order to preserve the public’s trust in government, we must be transparent about our dealings and transactions,” continued Galef. “These confidentiality agreements are designed to protect the harassers, not the harassed. It gives perpetrators who actually engaged in inappropriate conduct the cover to continue their abuse elsewhere because they were never called out for their actions."

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