In 2018, former governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring mandatory annual sexual harassment training for New York public employees. However, a recent report indicates that thousands of subway and other public rail workers failed to complete the required training in 2019 — the year after the law took effect.
Reports indicate that even Cuomo failed to participate in the program after signing the law. One source alleges that he pretended to comply by allowing another person to take the course in his stead.
What happened to prevent the training?
The New York acting inspector general (IG) alleges that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) headquarters failed to ensure that its employees received the mandatory training in 2019. Along with sexual harassment education, the mandatory training covers workplace violence, worker rights and ethics.
Of particular concern is that only about 58% of subway employees completed the mandatory course. The Metro-North Railroad had a worse compliance rate, with only around 43% of worker participation.
Reportedly, the widespread lack of training is due to cost cutting measures and because the MTA left compliance with the training up to the “discretion and oversight” of its subsidiaries.
Whatever reasons the MTA offers as an excuse for lack of compliance, many say that it is too little and much too late. It is possible that hundreds or even thousands of people suffered from sexual harassment due to nonparticipation in the training courses.
If you work for the MTA or any other business or organization and have suffered workplace sexual harassment, consider seeking a legal opinion to deal with your situation. Learning more about this statewide occupational problem can also help you find a remedy.