Bill to End Workplace Sexual Harassment Passes

Will extend protections to those in smaller settings

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef hailed the successful passage of her legislation today in the Assembly (A.5360/S.2), which is crucial for ending sexual harassment in smaller businesses and work environments, an issue Galef feels very passionately about.

At present, individuals working for an employer or company with fewer than four employees cannot file a sexual harassment complaint to the state. Under current state law, the definition of “employer” does not include any businesses with fewer than four persons in their employ. Now that A.5360 is set to become law in New York, the term “employer” will be revised to refer to any employer within the state regardless of the number of individuals working there. This will not change the existing law for companies with more than four employees.

“Currently, more than 60 percent of private employers in New York have fewer than four employees. These workers do not have the right to file a sexual harassment complaint,” said Galef. “Unfortunately, this disproportionately affects women workers. I hope that women in the workforce can now feel safer and protected against any form of sexual harassment, no matter how small their business is where they work.”

The state Senate passed their version of this bill earlier this legislative session, carried by Sen. David Valesky. It is anticipated that the governor will sign this bill as it was part of his Women’s Equality Agenda package. The bill shall take effect 90 days after being signed.

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