He shoulda known better!
All employers in New York state are required to instruct their workers about sexual harassment under a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — but he doesn’t seem to have learned much from it.
Two “case studies” from the October 2019 edition of the state’s online Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Training offer examples of inappropriate behavior that are strikingly similar to some of the allegations against the governor.
One — called “The Boss with a Bad Attitude” — involves a male supervisor named Paul who tells a female subordinate named Sharon that “he is glad she joined the staff because…she is ‘easy on the eyes.’”
Regarding those remarks, the training materials say, “It does not matter that Paul supposedly paid Sharon a ‘compliment.’ The discussion is still highly offensive to Sharon, as it would be to most reasonable persons in her situation.”
In Cuomo’s case, former aide Lindsey Boylan, 36, has said that Cuomo sexually harassed her “about my looks,” adding, “This was the way for years.”
Another case study is titled, “Too Close for Comfort,” and involves a female boss named Sarah who touches the hand or shoulder of a subordinate named Keisha while discussing Keisha’s reports with her.
Eventually, Sarah “traps” Keisha in her office, then “runs her hand over Keisha’s breast” when Keisha leaves after a meeting.
“Any type of sexual touching is very serious and Keisha should immediately report it without waiting for it to be repeated,” the training materials say.
“Sarah can expect to receive formal discipline, including possible firing.”
In Cuomo’s case, he’s accused of putting his hand on the exposed back of Anna Ruch, 33, grabbing her face and kissing her without consent after officiating at a Manhattan wedding in 2019.
Boylan, now a Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president, has also accused Cuomo of kissing her without consent in his Manhattan office after a meeting there in 2018.
During a Wednesday news conference that marked his first public appearance since the scandal erupted last week, Cuomo was asked if he’d undergone the state’s mandatory training.
“Short answer is, yes,” he said, without elaborating.
Cuomo also claimed, “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”
“And if I ever did make people feel uncomfortable, which I now understand that I have, I apologize,” he added.
Following Cuomo’s remarks, Boylan tweeted, “How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?”
Ruch didn’t immediately return a request for comment but a lawyer for a third accuser, Charlotte Bennett, 25, lawyer called Cuomo’s remarks “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information.”
The annual training mandate took effect in October 2018 as part of the “Women’s Opportunity Agenda” that Cuomo championed that year.
If employers don’t use the state’s model program, the minimum requirements include ensuring that the training is interactive, provides an explanation of sexual harassment that’s consistent with state guidance and offers examples of prohibited conduct.