Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) announced a proposal on Monday to have all elected county officials and department heads undergo sexual harassment prevention training.
Drucker said the legislation is neither political nor partisan, calling it a human rights issue.
The bill has bipartisan support in the county Legislature.
At a news conference Drucker was joined by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and members of the minority, including Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove).
No members of the Republican majority were present at the news conference, but in an interview with Blank Slate Media, Presiding Officer and Majority Leader Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said the bill is “definitely” one the GOP would support.
Drucker said Nassau County should be at the forefront of the culture change happening across the nation in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
“The countless experiences relayed by victims or survivors of sexual harassment or sexual violence in the entertainment, business and political landscapes mandate that we take meaningful measure to eradicate this societal problem by reviewing, enhancing and modernizing our existing policy,” Drucker said.
Nassau’s equal employment opportunity policy, which was last updated in 2003, states that the county will “conduct training and education sessions in accordance with the requirements of this policy.”
The proposed resolution would require all county elected officials, deputy county executives, heads of departments and office members of county boards and commissioners to receive biannual sexual harassment training, according to a copy of the resolution provided to Blank Slate Media.
The training would include at least two hours of classroom or “other effective interactive training and education” on sexual harassment, according to the resolution.
Drucker said he was not sure of the exact cost of a training class, but said “it shouldn’t be a big number.”
Curran said she pledges to not only support this legislation, which she called “an advance in the right direction,” but also to ensure a “safer, sexual harassment free workplace” in her administration.
The proposed legislation follows a more comprehensive sexual harassment policy overhaul this month in Suffolk County.
Last Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed legislation mandating tracking of past and future sexual harassment complaints, lawsuits and settlements involving the county, according to Newsday.
When asked by a reporter why not “go as far Suffolk,” Drucker said, “we have to start with small steps.”
“I think if we make it too comprehensive in the beginning it makes it more difficult to get everyone on board,” Drucker said. “But I think this is the perfect first steps.”
Curran added that this legislation still needs to be approved by the county Legislature.
“I would say let’s start with this legislation … and take it from there,” she said.