New York’s Government Says A Hug Is Sexual Harassment

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A hug counts as sexual harassment, the New York City government said in an April 4 press release.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights launched a new ad campaign to fight sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the Wednesday release. The bilingual Spanish-English campaign posters feature common excuses people use to disguise sexual harassment in a professional setting. Such instances include: “It’s just a hug” to show even a possibly friendly greeting can be misconstrued negatively. Two other posters display “It’s just a joke” and “It’s just flirting,” in an effort to lessen sexual misconduct claims in the workplace.

“In this new era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, I commend the City’s Commission on Human Rights for helping New York City stand out as a leader in the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace,” Public Advocate Letitia James said. “This ad campaign makes it clear that our city cannot and will not tolerate sexual harassment of any form and that victims have a reliable, safe way to seek the help and justice they deserve.”

The NYC Commission on Human Rights reported an increase in alleged sexual harassment incidents in the workplace. Sexual harassment claims jumped 43 percent in the past two years from 82 claims in 2014/2015 to 117 claims in 2016/2017.

“We created this public outreach campaign to remind New Yorkers that the Commission is a venue where New Yorkers can report sexual harassment, get justice, and hold violators accountable,” Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis said, according to NYC Human Right’s website.

The ads will be placed in 5,000 locations around the city.

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