Lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in the workplace

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ALBANY -

State lawmakers in Albany Wednesday held a landmark hearing on sexual harassment.

For the first time in nearly three decades, New York lawmakers gathered to hear testimony on sexual harassment in the workplace.         

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the crime is vastly underreported.

"For those that do come forward it takes tremendous courage and tremendous bravery and it is because of those actions we are even here today,” said Sen. Alessandra Biaggi

Lawmakers passed a new policy last year that includes requiring all employers to adopt sexual harassment prevention policies and train employees.

Critics complain that female lawmakers were not involved in negotiations that led to the new rules.

Wednesday’s hearing served as an opportunity to decide whether existing laws need improvement.

"What have we done and what can we do to make sure that those survivors are not only reporting instances in the most safe environment, but also getting access to the treatment and services they need?” asked Sen. David Carlucci.

One suggestion coming out the hearing was to create a statewide hotline within the Department of Labor to help make reporting sexual harassment easier.

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