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ALBANY, New York (WABC) — Governor Kathy Hochul took a big step forward Wednesday to make New York a safer place for women.

“From day one, it has been one of my top priorities to clean up Albany, change a culture of harassment and abuse, and ensure safe, respectful workplaces,” Governor Hochul said. “Everyone has the right to a workplace free of unlawful discrimination and harassment, and I will never stop fighting for gender equity. While there’s more work to be done, I am proud of the steps we are taking to promote safety, dignity, and respect for all New Yorkers.”

Hochul signed several pieces of legislation to law addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

The governor was joined by nearly every woman holding statewide office to sign three bills to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.

The bill first establishes a toll-free hotline for women experiencing harassment.

Another bill makes state and public employers subject to the Human Rights Law and gives those employees the same protections as people who work in the private sector.

The last bill will make it illegal for employers to take retaliatory action against employees who file complaints about harassment in the workplace.

“In the wake of last year’s events, New Yorkers have made it abundantly clear that they stand with survivors of sexual harassment and will not tolerate any failure to hold abusers accountable in the workplace,” State Senator Alessandra Biaggi said.

Addressing sexual harassment is part of the governor’s Equity Agenda, which includes the creation of a Council on Gender Equity, protecting access to reproductive health services, and increased support for minority and women-owned businesses.

The Governor is also calling on the legislature to pass the Equal Rights Amendment this session.

New York Attorney General Letitia James applauded the new laws and the positive impact they’ll have for women in the workforce.

“Today is an important day in our collective efforts to combat sexual harassment, and I am grateful to Governor Hochul and the legislative sponsors for their work on these issues,” James said. “Most importantly, I am grateful to the advocates who shined a light in the dark corners of our society and fought tirelessly to make these critical protections a reality.”

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