State protects abusers, women harassed in public jobs say

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Sexual harassment victims say New York state’s protections for government workers are so strong, it can make it difficult to fire men accused of misconduct.

They cite examples like a state employee suspended last year after female co-workers accused him of calling them “whores,” threatening someone with sexual assault and exposing himself in the office.

An arbitrator has now ordered him reinstated, saying he was only guilty of some offenses and didn’t deserve to be fired.

State workers are entitled to appeal disciplinary actions and can often take their case to an arbitrator.

Victim advocates say those protections need to be balanced with rules preventing workplace abuse and harassment.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo says “it is egregious that current law makes getting rid of bad actors so difficult.”

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