Governor Cuomo’s Response to Sexual Harassment Allegations at Odds With Law He Signed

In response to the sexual harassment allegations levied against him – including that he engaged in “creepy behavior” toward female reporters – Governor Andrew Cuomo is reported to have (dismissively) stated that “[h]arassment is not making someone feel uncomfortable” and that he “never said anything [he] believed was inappropriate.”

In 2019, the New York State Human Rights Law was amended to broaden its definition of harassment. Specifically, a newly-added section provides (inter alia) that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice “[f]or an employer … to subject any individual to harassment because of an individual’s … sex … regardless of whether such harassment would be considered severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims.” N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(h) (emphasis added).

While it is true that not every scenario that results in an alleged victim being “uncomfortable” will give rise to a viable harassment claim, under clearly-settled law, such conduct can be sexual harassment.

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