NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1222
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the penal law, in relation to official misconduct for
sexual harassment by a public servant
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
Amends the penal law to add a new section 195.01 to include sexual
harassment by a public servant to be a crime of official misconduct,
punishable as a class A misdemeanor.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends the Penal Code to classify sexual harassment by a
public servant as an act of Official Misconduct, which is a class A
Subsection (a) defines sexual harassment.
Subsection (b) defines public servant.
Section 2 is the effective date.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE):
In the last year, accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct have
taken a prominent place in the national dialogue, with new allegations
emerging almost daily. Unfortunately, it has revealed that no industry,
public or private, is immune.
Public servants should be held to the highest standards, and in the
event they use their position of power to exploit and victimize their
subordinates, they should be punished. This behavior is a significant
betrayal of the public trust, and those who engage in these actions need
to be held accountable.
The New York State has the opportunity to be an example for other enti-
ties and states by implementing a zero tolerance policy for sexual
harassment and assault, no matter the title or office of the offender.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2018: A10465 (Seawright)/ S7177 (Kennedy) Referred to Assembly and
Senate Committees on Codes.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 7, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. SEAWRIGHT -- read once and referred to the
Committee on Codes
AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to official misconduct for
sexual harassment by a public servant
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 195.01 to
2 read as follows:
3 § 195.01 Official misconduct for sexual harassment.
4 A public servant is guilty of official misconduct for sexual harass-
5 ment when he or she commits the act of sexual harassment as defined in
6 this section. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall
7 have the following meanings:
8 (a) "Sexual harassment" shall mean making unwelcome or unwanted sexual
9 advances, requesting sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment
10 or continued employment, engaging in verbal or physical conduct of a
11 sexual nature which is made a term or condition of employment, or which
12 is used as the basis for employment decisions. "Sexual harassment" shall
13 also include any type of sexual oriented conduct that is unwelcome and
14 has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's
15 work performance or creating a work environment that is intimidating,
16 hostile, offensive or coercive to a reasonable person. "Sexual harass-
17 ment" shall not be limited to male-female interaction.
18 (b) "Public servant" shall be defined as (i) any public officer or
19 employee of the state or of any political subdivision thereof or of any
20 governmental instrumentality within the state, or (ii) any person exer-
21 cising the functions of any such public officer or employee. The term
22 public servant shall include a person who has been elected or designated
23 to become a public servant.
24 Official misconduct for sexual harassment is a class A misdemeanor.
25 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.