Proposed bill aims to expose sexual harassment in local government

State News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new bill in New York aims to shine a light on sexual harassment claims in local government.

When there’s a finding of sexual harassment involving a local government employees, Sen. Jim Gaughran says notification is key.

“I believe very strongly that all members of a town board or a village board or a county legislature need to know,” he said.

He’s sponsoring a bill called the Sunshine Bill that would require all board members to be notified of an alleged violation within one business day. He said it’s important for a couple of reasons.

“In addition to protecting victims, you also have to make sure that you’re protecting the taxpayers, because often, this type of behavior leads to major litigation against a municipality,” he said.

Gaughran said the idea stemmed from a situation in his own district on Long Island where not everyone on a town board was initially made aware of an alleged instance of sexual harassment.

“What this law does is it makes sure that every member of a town board or a village board has the information so that they can independently act and act in concert with the municipal board,” he explained.

Gaughran said it will allow for the personnel situation to be addressed and provide victims protection. The bill also has sponsorship in the Assembly.

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