Sexual Harassment
September 8, 2021
Can it be stopped?

Despite new laws and policies enacted against sexual harassment as a result of the #MeToo movement, employees continue to file complaints against their employers, alleging they failed to protect them from sexual harassment at work. The most high-profile case involved former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced his resignation after 11 women accused him of unwanted groping or kissing or intimate comments. Surveys have found that sexual harassment has continued during the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps even increased, despite the switch to remote work. Congress is considering legislation to have special prosecutors outside of the military chain of command handle sexual assault and harassment allegations against service members. And states continue to grapple with whether to prohibit employers’ use of nondisclosure agreements involving sexual harassment claims.

Photo of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on August 10, 2021, after announcing he will resign. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo departs on Aug. 10 after announcing he will resign, effective in two weeks, over allegations of sexual harassment. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Andrew Cuomo announced on Aug. 10 that he was resigning as governor of New York, after state Attorney General Letitia James released a 165-page report on Aug. 3 finding that the governor had sexually harassed 11 women. 1

Before the report was released, eight of the 11 women — including several who worked for Cuomo — had accused the governor of unwanted groping, kissing, suggestive comments or personal questions about sex and dating. The legal definition of sexual harassment includes any unwelcome verbal or physical attention of a sexual nature in a workplace or learning environment. 2