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'Statewide fix' to sexual harassment introduced

Sen. Catharine Young

There is a new proposal to overhaul government sexual harassment policies in New York State. The Senate's Republican majority Tuesday announced the measure, sponsored by Olean Republican Catharine Young.

Majority Leader John Flanagan called the measure "the most comprehensive response yet to sexual harassment in the workplace. This legislation mirrors much of what the Governor originally proposed, but builds on his plan in several important areas."

The legislation also builds upon the Sexual Harassment Accountability and Protection Actproposed by Young and Mineola Republican Sen. Elaine Phillips in December 2017.

It would create a new, uniform policy prohibiting harassment at all levels of state and local government. A newly formed independent office would be tasked with investigating complaints.

The proposal would also prohibit confidential harassment settlements - unless the victim asks that their name be kept private - and allow government to recoup the cost of settlements between victims and a state employee.

Young's proposal would also make changes when it comes to private companies by prohibiting employment contracts that mandate arbitration of sexual harassment claims.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill as early as next week.

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