3.17.22 Advocacy Alert: Hochul Extends State of Emergency, Signs Sexual Harassment Bills
March 17, 2022
State of Emergency Extended
Governor Kathy Hochul has issued an Executive Order extending New York’s state of emergency declaration for COVID-19. The state of emergency was scheduled to expire today, but Hochul extended the declaration through April 15.
Declaring a state of emergency triggers the NY HERO Act, meaning employers must continue to abide by a number of disease prevention measures.
The extension comes as New York has its lowest number of positive COVID cases since July.
3/21 Update: The state reversed course and said employers no longer need to implement their workforce safety plans. Learn more here.
Hochul Signs Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation
Yesterday, Governor Hochul signed into law a package of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
One bill will create a confidential hotline within the state’s Division of Human Rights for the purpose of reporting workplace sexual harassment. DHR will connect callers to pro-bono attorneys, who can apprise callers of their rights and give legal advice.
Another bill clarifies that leaking an employee’s personnel records because he or she has made a complaint about workplace harassment constitutes unlawful retaliation. The bill is a jab at former Governor Cuomo, whose administration leaked unflattering personnel records of Lindsay Boylan after she accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.
The signing of this legislative package serves as a reminder to employers of their responsibilities to combat workplace sexual harassment. All employers are required to provide anti-harassment training and adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. Resources for preventing sexual harassment are available here.
Worldwide, companies throughout every business sector are dealing with significant supply chain challenges. The Buffalo Niagara region is certainly no exception. Increased costs, labor shortages, logistical breakdowns, and a host of other issues are impacting all aspects of the economy from manufacturer to customer.
Last night, New York voters selected party nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Erie County Clerk.
Primaries for U.S. House and State Senate seats will be held on August 23. No Assembly candidates in Erie or Niagara counties faced primaries.
In the next few months, prepare to receive a much higher bill for unemployment insurance (UI). The BNP spent over a year warning state leaders that this was coming. The state failed to act, and now, the chickens are coming home to roost.
One set of primary elections will take place on Tuesday, June 28. Early voting is open now. Look up your polling place and sample ballot here: (Erie County) (Niagara County). Note that primary elections are only open to voters registered in that party.