Business and Finance

‘Document everything’: 3 women allege Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed them — what do you do if it happens to you?

As lawmakers call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation in mild of sexual misconduct allegations, it’s necessary to understand how to deal with office sexual harassment if it happens to you.

The New York Democrat, already taking warmth after a New York legal professional common report found that his administration might have undercounted COVID-19 nursing-home deaths by up to 50%, has confronted contemporary scrutiny in latest weeks after three totally different women got here ahead with sexual-harassment allegations. In a information convention Wednesday, Cuomo apologized “for whatever pain I caused anyone” (*3*).

“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo stated. “I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it.”

But, he added, “I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. … And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain.”

The newest allegation got here this week from Anna Ruch, who told the New York Times the governor had put his fingers on her cheeks at a pal’s 2019 marriage ceremony reception and requested if he may kiss her. Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, two former aides to Cuomo, had earlier accused the governor of sexual harassment, together with an undesirable kiss and inappropriate questions on intercourse.

In a Feb. 28 statement following Boylan’s and Bennett’s accounts, Cuomo denied ever having inappropriately touched or propositioned anybody, however acknowledged that “some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation,” and apologized.

New York Attorney General Letitia James introduced Monday that her workplace would pursue an impartial investigation of sexual-harassment claims towards the governor. Cuomo on Wednesday stated he would cooperate with that investigation and urged New Yorkers to “wait for the facts” earlier than forming an opinion.

Meanwhile, some New York lawmakers — Democrats included — have referred to as on the governor to resign. Bennett, for her half, stated in an announcement Monday that Cuomo had “refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior,” the Times reported.

“As we know, abusers — particularly those with tremendous amounts of power — are often repeat offenders who engage in manipulative tactics to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape consequences,” Bennett stated. “It took the governor 24 hours and significant backlash to allow for a truly independent investigation. These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood; they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”

Bennett’s lawyer, Debra Katz, later called Cuomo’s Wednesday press convention “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information.”

Experts previously spoke with MarketWatch about what to do if you end up warding off sexual harassment — bodily or verbal — from a coworker or boss. Here’s what they stated:

Think forward about how you may deal with it

“It’s very common that you just freeze” when you get sexually harassed, stated employment lawyer Paula Brantner, the president and principal of the agency PB Work Solutions. “The best way to keep that from happening is to kind of walk through in advance what you would do if this happened.”

Sending a “loud and clear” message within the second can each assist set up that the overture was undesirable from a authorized perspective, and probably nip the issue within the bud, Brantner stated.

Document every little thing

Write down what was stated, when it was stated and who else may need heard “as quickly as you can after the fact,” Brantner stated, “because it often becomes a he-said, she-said situation.” “Memories fade,” she added.

Document requests for sexual favors, retaliation that resulted out of your not giving in, misplaced alternatives and every other offenses, and save emails that may assist make a case, stated employment lawyer Davida Perry, a associate at Schwartz, Perry & Heller. Don’t document something utilizing work property, she stated — maintain a pocket book of your personal that’s simply accessible. And maintain a confidante or partner within the loop because the incidents happen.

Talk to supportive and reliable coworkers

“If it’s happened to you, it may have happened to other people,” stated Brantner. “So you may wish to find out what you can about this person’s history and whether there have been any other situations.”

Report the conduct

“From my perspective, you need to talk about it; you need to report it. You need to speak to somebody who has the power and authority to take some action,” stated Perry. Learn about your organization’s insurance policies and procedures for submitting a sexual harassment grievance, Brantner added.

Remember that HR isn’t essentially your pal

“Their role is to protect the company and their role is to conduct what they believe to be an impartial investigation,” Brantner stated. “If you decide to go that route, you should be aware that even under policies where companies are supposed to do an investigation, they may not talk to everyone that you recommend, they may not be very thorough and they may not be very impartial.”

Document your dialog with HR: Either enter your assembly with HR armed with a written account of the harassment or write a abstract of the assembly proper after it’s over, Perry stated. That manner, “HR can’t come back and say, ‘We never talked about sexual harassment or discrimination,’” she stated. “It happens often.”

Talk to an employment lawyer

“It’s always OK to check in with an attorney on any of this, even if it’s a one-time situation that never happens again,” Brantner stated. Even if the legal professional says, “This is gross, it shouldn’t have happened, but it’s not a lawsuit,” she added, “at least you’ll know what to look for in the future if something happens again.”

Sexual harassment, outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature,” is a type of intercourse discrimination. It’s unlawful “when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision,” the EEOC says.

Aside from pursuing a federal EEOC declare, look inside your state and metropolis legal guidelines for potential further protections, Perry stated.

Know that you’re not alone — and it’s not your fault

“This has happened to countless numbers of women,” Brantner stated. “It’s not something you asked for. … The urge is to kind of reconsider everything you did or said that might’ve led somebody on, but it’s about power and exerting that power in the workplace.”

“We’ve got to speak out about it — there’s too much at stake,” Perry stated. “(From) the strong and the financially sound to the single mom who’s making $10 an hour, it just breaks you. And you’ve gotta fight back with whatever you have.”

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