A workplace should be free of sexual innuendo and harassment. Unfortunately, that does not always hold true. A New York assemblyman was recently accused of sexual harassment by several of the women who worked in his office.
Currently, seven women have filed complaints against the assemblyman. All of them either currently work for the assemblyman or have worked for him in the past. Many paint a picture of harassment that went on for extended periods of time.
The most recent complaint alleges that the assemblyman wanted to take inappropriate pictures at a Christmas party held for staff members. The assemblyman allegedly wanted to dress as Santa Claus. He then wanted the women on staff to sit on his lap while outfitted in costumes depicting them as sexy elves.
Other alleged offenses include asking a woman to accompany him to receive massages and showing her pictures of women who had accepted the invitation. He also implied she should sunbathe with no top on. When the woman declined the assemblyman’s advances and complained, her paycheck was decreased by half, according to the complaint.
Complaints brought by other employees claim the assemblyman’s behavior was responsible for the existence of a hostile work environment. They say they were pressured to go to strip clubs and massage establishments. One woman said she received a video that portrayed the assemblyman engaging in oral sex. Another woman said he attempted to detain her until she agreed to give him a kiss.
The accusations are being reviewed by the Ethics Committee of the State Assembly. The Assembly Speaker contends that the assemblyman in question is obligated to step down if the complaints about him are accurate. The governor echoes that sentiment. To date, the assemblyman has not responded officially.
The New York women represented by these complaints, like all workers, deserved to work in an environment free from sexual harassment. They are taking steps to ensure the situation is not allowed to continue. If successful, the end result could be an improved better work environment as well as any additional relief provided by federal and state employment laws.
Source: New York Daily News, New York politician Dennis Gabryszak sued again for alleged sexual harassment, Glenn Blain, Jan. 7, 2014