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Council to Vote on Sexual Harassment Legislative Package and the Creation of a Charter Revision Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/11/2018
CONTACT: JoAnne Wasserman, JWasserman@charter2019.nyc


The Council’s “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” would be among the strictest anti-sexual harassment legislation in the country

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on its “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act,” a comprehensive package of legislation strengthening New York City’s anti-sexual harassment policies and combating sexual harassment in the workplace. The Council will also vote to create a Charter Revision Commission, which will draft a new or revised City Charter. In addition, the Council will vote to add two appointees to the City’s Nightlife Advisory Board. The Council will also vote on two budget modifications. Finally, the Council will vote on a number of land use items in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“With the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements, we have seen that women are forces to be reckoned with, and they made loud and clear that enough is enough. The beginning of the end starts with New York City. All New Yorkers are entitled to a safe, respectful workplace, and this package of legislation sends a strong message to public and private employers that there is no place for sexual harassment in our City. With more and more sexual harassment cases being brought to light, it has never been more important for the government to play a role in the movement to end sexual harassment and assault. As legislators, it is our responsibility to do something about it and protect our constituents. I want to thank my Council colleagues for their support in pushing this package of bills forward and leading the charge here in New York City,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

Mandating Anti-Sexual Harassment Trainings at City Agencies

Introduction 612-A, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would require city agencies, as well as the offices of the borough presidents, comptroller and public advocate, to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees.

Assessing Workplace Risk Factors Related to Sexual Harassment at City Agencies

Introduction 613-A, sponsored by Council Member Adrienne Adams, would require city agencies, as well as the offices of the borough presidents, comptroller and public advocate, to conduct an ongoing assessment of risk factors associated with sexual harassment at such agency in order to help provide a fair and safe work environment for all city workers. These workplace risk factors have been identified by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace as identifiers to help employers and employees find ways to prevent conduct before it rises to the level of illegal workplace harassment.

“Every person whether they work in government or private industry should be able to do their jobs without fear of being sexually harassed. We now know that sexual harassment in the workplace is so prevalent that we need to take active measures to stop it before it begins which is why I am joining my colleagues to bring attention to this important issue. My bill, which will mandate an assessment of risk factors, will help to create a safe work environment for all city employees,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams.

Requiring Information about Sexual Harassment to be Available Online for Public Access

Introduction 614-A, sponsored by Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, would require the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to conspicuously post on its website resources about sexual harassment, including an explanation that sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under local law.

Creating an Anti-Sexual Harassment Rights and Responsibilities Poster

Introduction 630-A, sponsored by Council Members Robert Cornegy and Laurie Cumbo, would require all employers in the city to conspicuously display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibility poster designed by the Commission on Human Rights. The poster would be designed to use simple and understandable terms.

“At a moment when so many are standing up and saying #MeToo, it is critical that we as elected officials seize this moment to implement policies aimed at rooting out sexual violence so that no one else has to join their voices in such a chorus. Int. 630-A, along with the rest of the anti-harassment legislation being passed today, lays the groundwork for creating a city that stands firmly against sexual harassment and provides the appropriate mechanisms for handling instances of such harassment swiftly and justly,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

Mandating Anti-Sexual Harassment Trainings at Private Companies

Introduction 632-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo and Public Advocate Letitia James, would require all private employers in the city, with 15 or more employees, to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment interactive training for all employees of such employer, including interns and supervisory and managerial personnel after 90 days of initial hire. Employers may use computer or online training programs to satisfy the requirements of this bill.

“Women of every race and socio-economic background know what it’s like for sexual harassment to have a negative impact in their workplace, and in their lives. Today, we’re hoping to pass legislation that will ensure that sexual harassment is properly identified, reported, and ultimately prevented in New York City. I am proud to partner with my colleagues in City government on this important package of legislation so that these destructive acts cannot continue in our City,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

Reporting on Workplace Sexual Harassment within City Agencies on Annual Basis

Introduction 653-A, sponsored by Council Members Mark Levine, Jumaane Williams, Ritchie Torres and Fernando Cabrera, would require city agencies, as well as the offices of the borough presidents, comptroller and public advocate, to annually report on incidents of workplace sexual harassment within city agencies to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

“Across the country, an epidemic of sexual harassment plagues every corner of every industry from L.A. to D.C. As a city, we have an obligation to enact policies that help protect employees both in and out of government. Today’s commitment by the Council, under the leadership of Speaker Johnson and my colleague, Council Member Rosenthal, to reevaluate and improve our sexual harassment policies will guarantee victims the protection and attention they deserve,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

“One of the factors that permits sexual harassment to fester and poison the workplace is because it is allowed to remain hidden in plain sight. Council Member Levine’s bill, of which I am a proud co-prime sponsor, will help shine light on the scope of this problem by requiring reporting of sexual harassment complaint made in city agencies. We cannot solve the problem if we cannot see it for the urgent danger that it is. I want to thank Chair Rosenthal, Council Member Levine, Speaker Johnson, and all who have worked to make this issue the priority that it needs to be,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

“With this legislative package concerning sexual harassment we are beginning to break down barriers that prevent employees from reaching their fullest potential in the workplace. This bill will bring transparency to how city government agencies are handling sexual harassment incidents- the City must look internally and assess how these incidents are handled in order to be a leader in stopping sexual harassment,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

Expanding Sexual Harassment Protections to All Employees

Introduction 657-A, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, would amend the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to apply provisions related to gender based discrimination to all employers, regardless of the number of employees.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in passing legislation that addresses sexual harassment in the workplace. My legislation extends sexual harassment protection to employees of any company, regardless of its size. We are experiencing a watershed moment, and the Council’s focus on these workplace issues is just the tip of the iceberg. We are overdue for change when it comes to equality and sexual harassment. I look forward to working to continue to make much-needed updates to the law to ensure all New Yorkers have equal protection,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

Making Improvements to Clarify and Strengthen the Human Rights Law Relating to Sexual Harassment

Introduction 660-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would amend the policy statement of the NYCHRL to expressly include sexual harassment as a form of discrimination that the CCHR shall have the power to eliminate and prevent.

“I am proud to have introduced Intro. 660 as one of my first pieces of legislation, and there is no better time to address sexual harassment in our city than right now, in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up Movement. With the passage of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act and the recent launch of the NYC Commission on Human Rights’ public education campaign regarding sexual harassment, our city is taking the proper steps to make it clear: this behavior is a form of discrimination and will not be tolerated,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

Expanding Sexual Harassment Protections to All Employees

Introduction 663-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would amend the NYCHRL to increase the statute of limitations for filing harassment claims based on unwelcome conduct that intimidates, interferes with, oppresses, threatens, humiliates or degrades a person based on such person’s gender from one year to three years from the time that the alleged harassment occurred.

Mandating City Agencies to Conduct Climate Surveys and Action Plans to Combat Sexual Harassment

Introduction 664-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require all city agencies, as well as the borough presidents, comptroller and the public advocate, to conduct climate surveys to assess the general awareness and knowledge of the city’s equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) policy, including but not limited to sexual harassment policies and prevention at city agencies.

“This legislation is an incredible first step toward ending sexual harassment in New York City. We are expanding protections and making sure that employees know their rights. Every workplace, whether it is a city agency or private company, will now have to provide training on what constitutes sexual harassment, and what to do if you have experienced or witnessed it. I want to thank Speaker Johnson for his extraordinary leadership and partnership in making the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act reality. The incredible energy coming out of the #MeToo movement helped to make it possible for this Act to be passed. This legislation isn’t checking a box—it represents the beginning of a real shift toward a culture of respect and accountability. And the Act is just the beginning. This Council will continue to push to interrupt abuses of power and make sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination a thing of the past,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Addressing Sexual Harassment in Labor Services Employment Reports

Introduction 693, sponsored by Council Member James Van Bramer, would require that contractors and subcontractors that apply for city contracts include their employment practices, policies and procedures as they relate to preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the employment report required of proposed contractors and subcontractors.

“This issue must be taken seriously, and as lawmakers we must do all that we can to ensure that adequate training and resources are provided in the workplace. The legislation that I have introduced requires that organizations seeking to do business with or receive funding from the city provide details of their practices, policies and procedures as they relate to preventing and addressing sexual harassment. I will continue to fight for legislation that expands protections against sexual harassment and assault for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member James Van Bramer.

Calling on the Federal Government to Pass the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017”

Resolution 222, sponsored by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, calls upon Congress to pass, and the President to sign S.2203/H.R.4734, known as the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017,” which prohibits a predispute arbitration agreement from being valid or enforceable if it requires arbitration of a sex discrimination dispute.

“I’m proud to stand alongside Speaker Johnson, Councilwoman Rosenthal and my fellow co-sponsors of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act as this body votes to take a forceful and unambiguous stand against such menacing and degrading behavior. We are in the midst of a transformation from a culture that breeds sexual harassment in the workplace towards one promoting safe and healthy work environments free from this manner of abuse. I put forth Resolution 222 - calling on Congress to enact the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos – in recognition of the fact forced arbitration restricts those who may have been subjected to harassment from accessing the courts to seek potential relief or corrective measures. A policy that inhibits a fair and impartial investigation of a sexual harassment claim runs counter to any genuine effort to curb this kind of conduct and shouldn’t apply in such a circumstance. I thank my colleagues for rallying around this moral imperative to protect the dignity of our workers and drive sexual harassment from our City’s places of employment,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.

Proposed Rule of the Council: Resolution to Amend Council Rules

This resolution would amend Council policies and practices to align with the slate of anti-sexual harassment bills.

Establishing a Charter Revision Commission

Introduction 241-B, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, would establish a Charter Revision Commission to draft a new or revised City Charter. The Commission would have appointees from a wide array of City elected officials, including the Mayor, Borough Presidents, Public Advocate, and Comptroller.

The Commission created by this bill would not have predetermined issues to consider, but would instead be empowered to examine broader questions of the structure of New York City government.

“It has been nearly 30 years since a Charter Revision Commission examined the checks and balances in our City. A balanced system equals a healthy democracy. I thank my colleagues in government, Public Advocate Tish James and Borough President Gale Brewer for supporting the Council in establishing this commission,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“It is not every day that we get an opportunity to fundamentally change the future of our City. Creating a commission to review New York City’s charter will provide us with the chance to make a real and lasting difference in how New York City grows and adapts, especially with regards to the issues most important to New Yorkers. I thank Speaker Johnson and Manhattan Borough President Brewer for their partnership on this bill and I look forward to the chance to make our City even better,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“The Charter is the engine that makes city government run, and after thirty years, that engine is overdue for a comprehensive inspection and tune-up. This bill creates a balanced panel, without a pre-baked agenda, that can take a thorough look at how the Charter is working, and how it can be improved to make city government more effective for New Yorkers. Thank you to my partner Public Advocate James, to Speaker Johnson, and to the Council for supporting a comprehensive Charter review,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“It is about time we take a closer look at the Charter, not with the intent to make it all new, but rather to make it work better for the City of New York.  It is my hope that by establishing a Charter Revision Commission we can increase the opportunities for direct input from the public on how to best guide future growth that strengthens and uplifts entire communities,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“I thank Speaker Johnson and the members of the City Council for advancing forward a Charter Revision Commission that will assess the fundamental functions and framework of our municipal government. It is time for a top-to-bottom review that openly studies how the City can best serve and represent the voices of everyday New Yorkers. As I testified to the Council last month, I urge the upcoming charter review process to make 100% public financing a reality; it is, in fact, the most important reform I believe this process can pursue. Working with Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer, Public Advocate James, Speaker Johnson, and my fellow borough presidents, I look forward to a robust dialogue in the months ahead that lives up to the democratic values New Yorkers expect us to advance,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. 

“In 2010, New York City residents were promised a top-to-bottom review of the City Charter, but what they actually got was a sham with a predetermined outcome. As a result, structural government failures and inefficiencies have gone unaddressed. I am encouraged that Speaker Johnson and the City Council are putting forth legislation to impanel a City Charter Revision Commission with an open mandate to review the entire City Charter for as long as it takes to advance real reform. I look forward to submitting my proposals, especially the call for enhanced local control, to an independent, blue ribbon Commission,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.

Adding Two Appointees to the Nightlife Advisory Board

 Introduction 754, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, adds two additional members to the Nightlife Advisory Board, increasing the total number of members from 12 to 14.

 

The City Council will also vote on the following finance item(s)…

 The Council will be voting on two budget modifications. The Expense Budget modification, MN-6, would transfer $970.3 million between various units of appropriation in Fiscal 2018, with a zero net effect on the budget. The Revenue Budget modification, MN-7, would recognize $783.8 million in new revenues for Fiscal 2018. These new revenues, combined with other funds for a total of $2.58 billion, will be added to the Budget Stabilization Account to prepay debt service for Fiscal 2019.

 

The City Council will also vote on the following land use item(s)…

Gowanus Canal CSO, Brooklyn

The Council will vote to approve an application for the proposed site selection and acquisition of three privately owned properties at 242 and 270 Nevins Street, 234 Butler Street in order to facilitate the construction of the “Head End Facility” as part of the larger project to construct combined sewer overflow (“CSO”) control facilities to reduce the volume of untreated wastewater entering the Gowanus Canal. This project is located in Council Member Stephen Levin’s district.

35 Underhill Avenue Rezoning, Brooklyn

The Council will vote to rezone 35 Underhill Avenue to facilitate the building’s conversion from parking to commercial use. This project is located in Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo’s district.

21 East 12th Street Parking Garage, Manhattan

The Council will vote to modify the special permit sought by 21 E12 LLC in order to allow an attended parking garage with a maximum capacity of 150 spaces, instead of the 187 spaces sought. The building is on East 12th Street and University Place in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district.

Special Projects Loan – 165 West 80th Street, Manhattan

The Council will vote to approve the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s application for the Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) and Article X1 tax exemption for property which will be rehabilitated with approximately 29 affordable co-op units in Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s district.

CUCS West 127th Street Supportive Housing, Manhattan

The Council will vote to approve the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s application for approval of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) and special permit to facilitate the development of a 12-story community facility building with 117 units of affordable and supportive housing and on-site supportive services. This project is located in Council Member Bill Perkins’ district.

Taxi and Limousine Commission Office Lease

The Council will vote on a motion to file the application to remove it from the Council’s calendar after it was withdrawn by the applicant. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) had sought approval to acquire office space located at 188 West 230 Street, in Council Member Fernando Cabrera’s district.

 

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