The New York State Senate - passed new legislation that, among other things, could lower the bar for what qualifies as sexual harassment in the workplace. Previously, the sexual harassment was required to be “severe or pervasive” in nature to be considered sexual harassment. This standard has now been eliminated, opening the door to lesser violations, such as inappropriate comments or groping. “One act against a woman is more than enough, it should not have to be defined as pervasive to rise to the level of being a problem,” said Sheri L. Scavone, executive director of the WNY Women’s Foundation.
Last year, NY passed legislation banning most nondisclosure and mandatory arbitration agreements for harassment complaints and requiring government employees found responsible for harassment to refund any taxpayer-financed payouts. Current legislation is pending to extend statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape.