Walter sponsors historic legislation for women in the workplace

Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst) today joined his colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference to introduce nine individual pieces of legislation that promote and advance critical components of the New York State Women’s Equality Agenda. Walter himself is the sponsor of the ninth point, which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant workers. The Pregnancy-Related Employment Accommodations Act classifies pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions as temporary disabilities as defined within the Human Rights Law. The Women’s Equality Act was proposed in 2013, but failed to become law due to opposing legislative processes used in each house of the Legislature.


“We have nine pieces of legislation that are bold, yet feasible, and the women of this state deserve these historic reforms,” said Walter. “Unfortunately, Speaker Silver and the Assembly Majority have turned this into a multi-year political side show. All nine points introduced are important measures that will provide true equality for women in New York State.”


In 2013, Gov. Cuomo introduced the Women’s Equality Act and called for separate provisions to be brought to the floors of each chamber. The Senate passed nine separate women’s equality bills. However, the Assembly Majority introduced a single bill – eliminating any chance for measures to be enacted in 2013. On January 27, 2014, the Majority once again introduced only one omnibus bill, making it almost impossible to pass in the Senate in the coming session.


The nine bills introduced today by members of the Assembly Minority Conference were passed in the Senate last year, and must pass both houses in 2014 to become law.  They include:


·        Pay Equity - S.5872 – Enacts pay equity provisions designed to strengthen equal pay protections for women in the workplace.Sponsor: Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston)

·        Sexual Harassment - S.5873 – Applies sexual harassment protections in the law to all organizations of any size. Sponsor: Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R,C,I-Clarence)

·        Attorney’s Fees In Discrimination Cases - S.5874 – Awards attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in housing, credit and employment discrimination where the discrimination was done on the basis of sex. Sponsor: Assemblyman Joe Borelli (R,C,I-SouthShore)

·        Familial Status Discrimination - S.5875 – Adds familial status to the list of classes protected and covered by the Human Rights Law. Sponsor: Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Melrose)

·        Prohibiting Housing Discrimination - S.5876 – Prohibits housing discrimination based upon a person’s status as a domestic violence victim and establishes a task force to study the impact of source of income upon access to housing. Sponsor:Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island)

·        Restraining Orders - S.5877 – Specifies that the protected party in whose favor an order of protection or temporary order of protection is issued may not be held to violate that order. Sponsor: Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R,C,WF,I-Huntington Station)

·        Electronic Hearings for Temporary Restraining Orders - S.5878– Authorizes the establishment of a pilot program for the filing of petitions for temporary orders of protection by electronic means. Sponsor: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C,I-Canandaigua)

·        Human Trafficking - S.5879 – Enacts the Human Trafficking Victims Protection & Justice Act, creating new crimes, strengthening penalties and protecting victims. Sponsor: Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I-New Hartford)

·        Pregnancy-Related Employment Accommodations - S.5880 – Classifies pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions as temporary disabilities as defined within the Human Rights Law. Sponsor: Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst)



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