Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed several pieces of legislation on Oct. 21 that were designed to protect women against unequal pay, human trafficking, and employment and housing discrimination.
“We’re going to sign the most comprehensive set of laws in the nation that will establish equality for women all across the board,” Cuomo said during the signing event in New York City. “It’s a recognition of the inequality and a resolution of the inequality at the same time.”
All eight bills within the series were passed by unanimous votes in the Senate.
Of the eight bills that have been signed, Bill S. 3 will provide for attorney’s fees in employment or credit discrimination cases based on sex. This law is designed to prevent plaintiffs who cannot afford to hire an attorney from being unable to seek compensation in civil court.
Cuomo has also announced an allocation of $4.5 million in state funding towards the implementation of the “Enough is Enough” legislation that was signed in July. “Enough is Enough” focuses on a uniform definition of affirmative consent, statewide amnesty on campus policies for students who report sexual assault and expanded law enforcement resources to respond to sexual assault-related crimes more effectively.
Another bill in the series, Bill S. 1, is designed to help achieve pay equity between genders and will “eliminate a loophole in the current law that allows employers to prohibit employees from discussing their salaries under threat of termination or suspension,” according to a news release.
The bill will also increase the amount of potential damages available to employees who were paid unequal wages to 300 percent of the wages found to be due.