In the recent years, the nation has had a significant increase in awareness on employee discrimination. Whether it is reports on popular media figures or workplace statistics, there is more pressure than ever for the state governments to take action and make more workers feel safer no matter what gender, race or age they are.
Some states are quicker to act than others. With how many people are in New York and how diverse the population is, there have been no shortage of workplace horror stories and negative statistics when it comes to stuff like sexual harassment and gender discrimination. While the state has made several new bills and amendments in the past few years to alleviate this, they have not stopped trying to make the workplace safer in 2019 as evidenced by the following:
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is a law that the government has been debating back and forth about since its inception in 2003. Finally in January 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill to the delight of the Human Rights Campaign. This new law will amend the New York State Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. He also passed a bill banning the controversial conversion therapy.
Last month, we highlighted how a large percentage of New York transgender workers are struggling to get jobs and face constant discrimination at the workplace. Passing GENDA means that more of these workers will have the opportunity to file lawsuits against employers unfairly treating them solely based on their gender.
Investigating the problem
In late January 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the state would create a new unit to investigate claims of sexual and gender-based harassment in the workplace. They are hoping to tackle high priority cases such as retaliation or discriminatory firing quickly to make more workplaces feel safer and workers not out on the streets looking for new jobs for so long. This ambitious project could spread further awareness on employment law issues while also minimizing worker mistreatment, but only time will tell how effective this strategy is.
These actions taken by the New York government shows the state’s determination in downsizing the amount of discrimination in the workplace. If they prove successful, other states could soon follow their example in an attempt to take care of this national problem. With how much effort they are putting into these anti-discrimination acts, unfair employers should not be able to get away with their mistreatment. Seek legal help if you or a loved one continue to face gender or sexual harassment at the workplace.