Simotas and Advocates Demand Better Protections vs. Harassment & Discrimination

May 29, 2019

ALBANY, NY – New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and advocates from across the state gathered at the capitol on May 22 to call upon the legislature to expand protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Simotas advocated for bill A7083-A, her comprehensive piece of legislation that expands protections for employees who want to report wrongdoing by their employers from a number of angles. The bill eliminates the Faragher/Ellerth defense and removes the requirement that workplace abuse be proved “severe or pervasive” to be significant under the law. It also adds protections for domestic service workers, makes employers liable for harassment and discrimination committed by independent contractors, and allows employees to claim punitive damages if they experience workplace harassment. Overall, the measure would help shift the balance of power in harassment and discrimination proceedings away from bad employers and level the playing field for employees who are reportedly trampled by big corporations or powerful supervisors under current policies.

“Employees who take steps to come forward and report harassers should not face the possibility of further harassment. Employers need to be proactive and look to prevent harassment from happening, and we need to hold them to that standard,” Simotas said.

“This legislation is a big step forward as it serves to eliminate distinctions between harassments by including stronger protections for all groups that could be subjected to discrimination in the workplace, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment. It is a signal that harassment or discriminatory behavior is not acceptable and we are prepared to make certain it is not happening on our watch in New York State,” Simotas said.

The Sexual Harassment Working Group said, “Assemblymember Simotas and Senator Biaggi are leading the legislature with a comprehensive set of protections that afford workers the rights and dignity they deserve. Our state must act this session to expand baseline statutory protections for workers, repair NDA laws to protect victims, and establish trauma-informed statutes of limitations. The SHWG is proud to fight for these changes alongside our progressive 2019 legislature.”

NELA/NY strongly supports S3817A/A7083A, a bill that expands the protections of the New York State Human Rights Law to protect all employees in New York State from discriminatory harassment. We applaud Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and Senator Alessandra Biaggi for their sponsorship of this critically important bill,” said Miriam Clark, President of NELA/NY.

“While cultural change occurs at a painfully slow rate, our laws can – and must – change now,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart, adding “every single person has the right to a workplace free of sexual harassment and discrimination. It’s time to make that right a reality by rewriting the rules, and bringing safety and fairness to every workplace.”

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “As a lawyer who has represented plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, I know that New York State’s human rights law cries out for strengthening across the board. This is such a bill. New York will be a better place for workers and employers when the rules of the road and remedies for discrimination and sexual harassment are real, clear, and enforceable. I am grateful to Assemblymember Simotas for her leadership in standing up for women and workers across the state.”

Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said “The workplace should be a safe and supportive environment for everyone. No one should fear harassment, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind when they are working to provide for themselves and their family. The victims of harassment and discrimination should be protected and supported, not the perpetrators or the business that employees them.”

Assemblyman David I. Weprin declared, “No one should be subject to discrimination or sexual harassment, especially in the work place. The proposed legislation will bring New York up to speed with the rest of the country by removing legal barriers that prevent victims from coming forward and finding perpetrators liable…I applaud Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and my colleagues in the Assembly Majority for protecting New Yorkers against hostile work environments and ensuring that justice is served.”


LONDON - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a meeting with Greeks of the diaspora while in London on Wednesday, during which he highlighted the options that Greeks living abroad now have to vote in Greek elections from their place of residence, as well as his government's emphasis on reforms.

Top Stories


ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.


BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.


ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.


Democrats Eye Supreme Court Pick to Revive 2022 Prospects

Democrats stung by a series of election year failures to deliver legislative wins for their most loyal voters hope they'll be buoyed by the prospect that President Joe Biden will name the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.