Nassau Legislature passes new sexual harassment policies

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The Nassau County Legislative and Executive Building is seen in Mineola. (Photo by DanTD via Wikimedia Commons)

The Nassau County Legislature voted unanimously to strengthen sexual harassment policies on Monday.

“Any step that we can take to make people feel comfortable at work is a good one,” said Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove).

Under the new policy, the county’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity must disclose violations of the county’s sexual harassment policy that lead to discipline to the county attorney and the Legislature’s presiding officer and minority leader within 30 days of an incident.

Any settlements must be disclosed to legislative leaders. County officials have 30 days to distribute the new harassment policy to all county employees, who will have to complete an online tutorial.

The bill was proposed by Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) in February.

“It sends a good message to all the employees,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “The work was done on both sides and it was nice to work in unison.”

Every legislator voted in favor of the bill, although Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) was absent.

“It’s incredibly timely legislation,” said Legislator Josh Lafazan (I-Syosset). “Around the country, elected officials have not behaved to a standard that is acceptable for public office. I think this moves us in the right direction.”

Lafazan had his first bill passed by the Legislature on Monday as well. The bill called for American Sign Language interpreters to be present at emergency news conferences organized by the county.

DeRiggi-Whitton said the bill stemmed from the fact that the closed captions that were being used for news conferences often did not say the right thing.

Also passed on Monday was a resolution that requires the Nassau County Police Department to establish a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of drug dealers in the county. The reward for information, submitted through a call-in hotline, will be funded using seized asset forfeiture funds and will go up to $5,000.

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