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FLASHBACK: Cuomo Pledged ‘Zero Tolerance’ For Sexual Harassment, Overhauled Workplace Laws

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was found responsible for multiple instances of sexual harassment of aides by state Attorney General Letitia James, under laws he advocated.

Cuomo called for a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual harassment and led overhauls of his state’s workplace and gender protection laws in 2013 and 2019. Cuomo ran afoul of those laws by “engaging in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said Tuesday.

Cuomo first introduced the Women’s Equality Act, an omnibus bill, in 2013. It passed in 2015. The package includes provisions governing pay equity, sexual harassment and employment discrimination.

The 2019 law was wider-reaching. Part of Cuomo’s “Women’s Justice Agenda,” SB 6577 lowered the burden of proof for sexual harassment allegations. Under SB 6577, “harassment would [not need to] be considered severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims.” (RELATED: Top New York Lawmakers Call On Cuomo To Step Down After He Dismissed Resignation Calls As ‘Anti-Democratic’)

SB 6577 also ensures that the lack of an existing written complaint “to such employer, licensing agency, employment agency or labor organization shall not be determinative of whether such employer, licensing agency, employment agency or labor agency shall be liable” for a sexual harassment claim.

James’ report found that Cuomo sexually harassed five women. The state will not charge him. At least eight women publicly accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct.