New York that year extended the time limit to bring workplace sexual harassment claims to three years from one. The state also removed the legal requirement that harassing conduct had to be “severe and pervasive” for a claim to succeed.

‘Severe and Pervasive’
“By ending the absurd legal standard that sexual harassment in the workplace needs to be ‘severe or pervasive’ and making it easier for workplace sexual harassment claims to be brought forward, we are sending a strong message that time is up on sexual harassment in the workplace and setting the standard of equality for women,” Cuomo said in a statement when he signed the changes into law in October 2019.

Mintzer said some of Cuomo’s misconduct detailed in James’s report probably would have met the old standard, but others of the women might not have been able to sue.

“They have that option now,” said Mintzer. “I think it’s very significant.”

Some of the women would still face obstacles. James’s report includes instances of harassment that took place as long ago as 2013 and 2015, well beyond even the extended statute of limitations. Mintzer said it’s also unclear if the time extension would apply to conduct that took place before the law changed.

And even the New York state senator who sponsored the 2019 sexual harassment legislation said she wasn’t sure the law could reach the governor personally. Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who was one of the first politicians to call for the Cuomo to resign after harassment allegations first surfaced, said it was possible a court could find the governor wasn’t actually the women’s employer.

That could be the case “even though he is obviously literally their employer,” Biaggi said.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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