Legal Analysis on Sexual Harassment Claims Made Against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Several media outlets have reported on the sexual harassment allegations made against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

As part of their ongoing coverage of this story, WGRZ 2 On Your Side recently aired a report that addressed the legal process Governor Cuomo may face and how the law works in sexual harassment cases. Reporter Ron Plants interviewed labor attorney Robert L. Boreanaz to provide legal analysis for this report.

Continue reading for comments made by Robert Boreanaz for this story. Click here for WGRZ’s full report or click the video below to watch the full story, including legal analysis from Robert Boreanaz.

New York State’s 2018 Women’s Agenda Platform

As reported by WGRZ, New York State’s sexual harassment laws were strengthened as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda platform. Legislation that was signed into law in 2019 essentially “lowered the bar” for a victim to prove sexual harassment in New York State and redefined the circumstances of what is legally considered to be “harassment.” While discussing New York State’s latest sexual harassment laws, attorney Robert Boreanaz stated “It had to have been pervasive over a long period of time for you to be successful. The new law eliminates that requirement and even an isolated or singular incident could be the subject of a lawsuit.”

Circumstances of Criminal Conduct

New York State Attorney General Letitia James will select an independent law firm to conduct an investigation regarding sexual harassment allegations made against Governor Andrew Cuomo. The law firm will have subpoena power and will ultimately provide the attorney general with a report that may include a civil or criminal referral for action. Regarding the possibility of criminal action in this matter, Robert Boreanaz said “In some facts and circumstances sexual harassment allegations could fall into the realm of potentially criminal conduct.”

State Charges vs. Federal Charges

Robert Boreanaz told WGRZ “When a public official uses his or her office to garner some influence over somebody in a sexual way, that could run afoul of some other federal laws dealing with the abuse of a public office.” Mr. Boreanaz went on to say that federal authorities could also look for any potential evidence of an alleged cover up or corruption stemming from a sexual incident with a staffer. While the investigation of sexual harassment allegations made against Governor Cuomo are currently being handled at the state level, there is potential for federal involvement.

If you would like any additional information regarding sexual harassment laws or have questions on any matters related to labor and employment law, click here to contact Robert Boreanaz.