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New bill aims to strengthen sexual harassment laws

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 18:55:01-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's a race against the clock for lawmakers in Albany to pass several bills aimed at strengthening sexual harassment laws in New York State.

A key measure here would ditch the current language that says harassment must be "severe or pervasive" to be substantiated. Those in support of the change say the current provisions are too strict.

Under this new, proposed standard, and alleged victim would only need to prove the harassment escalated above "petty slights or inconveniences."

Elizabeth Fox-Solomon with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says, "The new law says you don't have to follow your employers policies, you can come straight to an agency to complain of sexual harassment. In a situation like the Anchor Bar or somewhere else where a supervisor is accused, this would give women more options under state law."

Fox-Solomon is referring to allegations now coming to light concerning the Anchor Bar location on Maple Road in Amherst. As reported by 7 Eyewitness News, three women, two of whom are former employees say they were sexually harassed by the restaurant's former General Manager.

Right now, New York City is the only location in New York to ditch the "severe and pervasive" standards. If this bill passes the state senate and assembly, the new standards would extend state-wide.