All the chatter about whether Governor Andrew Cuomo should be kicked out of office for this–this being multiple women’s credible allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation–is maddening to me. As an employment lawyer who regularly brings, defends, and investigates sexual harassment claims in New York, I know that the punishment for violating this law is usually termination of employment and financial liability of the employer and occasionally the harasser.
Cuomo’s multiple overlapping current (and former) crises, also including a cover-up of nursing home deaths, share a theme: abuse of power for personal gain. The sexual harassment claims, from eight women so far, including several staffers who worked for him, clearly demonstrate violations of the NYS Human Rights Law prohibiting sexual harassment– which the governor took credit for expanding. This law creates clear liability for the governor based on the actions currently alleged, including ones he’s admitted to.
The allegations include Cuomo relentlessly commenting on employee’s appearances, putting his arms around their waists, kissing one on the lips without her consent in a workplace setting, putting his hand down another’s shirt, and propositioning one for sex while vigorously repeating to her that she had previously been a victim of sexual assault.