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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A5360 SPONSOR: Galef
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful discriminato- ry practices   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to break down barriers that perpet- uate discrimination and inequality based on gender.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1. Subdivision 5 of section 292 of the Executive Law is amended to read as follows: 5. The term "employer" does not include any employer with fewer than four persons in his or her employ except as set forth in section 296-b of this article, provided, however, that in the case of an action for discrimination based on sex pursuant to subdivision one of section 296 of this article, with respect to sexual harassment only, the term "employer" shall include all employers within the state. Section 2. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the legislature that this act would have been enacted even if such invalid provisions had not been included herein. Section 3. Establishes the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: New York State has a proud history and tradition of leading the nation in progressive ideas and reforms, especially in respect to women's rights. In 1848, the Women's Suffrage Movement was born at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. From that moment in time, and continuing through today, this State has been the home of female leaders and visionaries, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton who initi- ated the first organized women's rights and women's suffrage movements, to Audre Lorde, a leading African-American poet and essayist who gave voice to role models for not only their generation, but for all future generations. As stated in the memorandum of our companion legislation, "Sexual harassment disproportionately affects women in the workplace. In 2011, women filed 75% of all sexual harassment complaints filed at the New York State Division of Human Rights, and 83% of all sexual harassment complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Howev- er, those persons working for employers with fewer than 4 employees cannot file a complaint with the State, because small employers are currently exempt from the provisions of State Law that prohibit harass- ment and more than 60% of the State's private employers have fewer than 4 employees. This bill would amend the law to protect workers from sexu- al harassment regardless of the size of the workplace. Under the amended law, an employee of any business; large or small may file a complaint for sexual harassment." Over the years, New York has fallen behind in its role as a progressive leader on women's rights. Statistics clearly show that women in New York State are not treated equally to men. This legislation will reverse that trend.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S. 5873 of 2013/2014   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There are no fiscal implications associated with its passage.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act takes effect on the 90th day after it becomes law.