Oops. In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law bill lowering bar for sexual harassment

Oops. In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law bill lowering bar for sexual harassment
Andrew Cuomo

A warning to liberals pursuing a career in politics. If you’re going to talk the holier-than-thou talk, you had better also walk the holier-than-thou walk.

Just ask onetime “Love Gov” Andrew Cuomo, who is currently hanging on to his career in public service by a thread. Yesterday it was reported that a third woman had come forward to accuse the governor of sexual harassment.

If Cuomo plans to defend himself against these allegations, he would be well-advised not to argue that his sexual advances were trivial or meaningless. A New York law holds that harassment need not be “severe or pervasive” to be considered unlawful. As the Washington Free Beacon notes:

[A]any action that rises above “petty slights and trivial inconveniences” can qualify. If a male supervisor makes a female employee uncomfortable by asking her out to lunch … that could be the basis for a claim. …

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So what dunderhead signed this measure into law? His name is Andrew Cuomo. The legal website Lexology reports:

On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a sweeping change to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, making it much easier for employees to sustain claims against their employers.

Until now, to establish a claim of workplace harassment, an employee was required to demonstrate that the alleged harassment was “severe and pervasive.” The changes to the NYSHRL eliminates the “severe and pervasive” standard, requiring employees to demonstrate only that they were subjected to “inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment” as a result of their membership in a protected class. Employers may defeat claims under the NYSHRL by demonstrating that the alleged misconduct amounts to nothing more than “petty slights or trivial inconveniences.”

The law would not apply in the case of Anna Ruch, Cuomo’s most recent accuser, who was never employed by Cuomo.

As a sidebar, the Free Beacon notes:

This is not the first time a prominent Democrat has endorsed self-incriminating standards for sexual misdeeds. Al Franken, who told the New Yorker he “fervently supports” the MeToo movement, resigned in disgrace after eight women accused the senator of inappropriately touching them. And Joe Biden, who as vice president pushed colleges to limit the due process rights of men accused of sexual assault, said Tara Reade’s allegations against him “should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny” after they threatened to derail his presidential campaign.

Unlike Franken or Biden, however, Cuomo explicitly enshrined those standards in state law. “The ongoing culture of sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and has held employees back for far too long,” he said of the bill. “This critical measure finally ends the absurd legal standard for victims to prove sexual harassment in the workplace and makes it easier for those who have been subjected to this disgusting behavior to bring claims forward.”

Grab the popcorn. This should be fun to watch.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."

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