Category Archives: Elaine Phillips

Strengthening Of New York’s Sexual Harassment Laws Proposed

In the wake of a tidal wave of allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct sweeping the country, Senator Elaine Phillips (R – 7th S.D.) and Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – 57th S.D.) have proposed landmark legislation that would strengthen New York State’s sexual harassment laws. The measure would enact sweeping new protections for victims including banning secret settlements, establishing a statutory definition of sexual harassment, and expanding the law to protect independent contractors. The measure represents the most significant statewide initiative on the issue in decades.

 

“Our nation is at a defining moment with respect to the issue of sexual harassment. In the last two months, dozens of courageous individuals have come forward to share painful stories of harassment and abuse they suffered at the hands of those in positions of power. Nearly all of these women and men have been silent for years, either as a result of intimidation by their abusers, or because of the humiliation associated with the abuse – or a combination of both. With each new revelation, our shock grows at the apparent pervasiveness of this problem along with our resolve to take action,” said Senator Young.

 

“There is no place in our government, or society as a whole, for sexual assault or harassment. It is inspiring to see the movement of women across our country coming forward, sharing their personal stories, and overcoming the stigma and shame brought on by the inappropriate actions of others. The dialogue must continue and as elected officials we must do all possible, to protect those who have been forced to carry the burden of harassment out of fear for their future,” said Senator Phillips.

 

“This landmark legislation aims to punish abusers, prevent harassment, and further protect all victims. I applaud the courageous women who have come forward to share their difficult stories and hope this bravery will aid them with their personal healing process,” she added.

 

“It is important to remember that for each individual who has come forward in the last two months, there are thousands of others who have also been the victims of sexual harassment. While the celebrities’ stories make headlines, the reality is that individuals in low-wage service occupations such as restaurant wait staff and sales clerks have the highest incidence of sexual harassment,” said Senator Young.

 

“While harassment can take many forms, from innuendo to outright assault, it cannot and must not be tolerated, at any level. As a society and as a state, we need to step forward to protect people from the discrimination and degradation of sexual harassment and abuse. Bringing this issue out of the darkness and into the light is the first step towards addressing this problem. The other component involves changing our laws to help prevent harassment, punish abusers and protect victims,” she added.

 

The legislation co-sponsored by Senator Phillips and Senator Young would include the provisions below.

 

Prohibit secret settlements. To help discourage serial predators, this measure would prohibit courts from accepting any settlements that include confidentiality agreements or provisions. This would help ensure that those responsible are held accountable while providing employers with a greater incentive to institute strong anti-harassment policies and build a workplace culture that discourages such behavior.

 

“As the Harvey Weinstein case and others have highlighted, serial predators often use confidential settlements to silence their victims and protect their reputations, leaving them free to harass others. In order to affect real and lasting change, these settlements must be removed from the equation,” said Senator Young.

 

Prohibit mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment complaints. Mandatory arbitration clauses are often used by employers to force sexual harassment victims into private arbitration proceedings, which precludes their ability to seek legal action.

 

“Mandatory arbitration clauses, much like confidential settlements, are intended to keep sexual harassment incidents under wraps, shielding the company, and often the offender, from negative publicity. Eliminating these clauses is necessary to ensure that justice is served and that these offenses aren’t hidden from view,” said Senator Young.

 

Expand the definition of “employer” to include those who employ independent contractors. Currently, individuals who are freelance or contract workers cannot file sexual harassment complaints against the enterprises or individuals who have employed their services. This includes a broad and growing range of businesses, including entertainment companies, news and media organizations, construction firms, real estate agencies, and hair salons, among many others. The Government Accountability Office has placed the percentage of freelance and contract workers at approximately 40 percent of the workforce.

 

This legislation would close this loophole by extending to contract workers the same right to file sexual harassment complaints as individuals who are directly employed by the company or entity.

 

“Many of the actresses who’ve made allegations against Harvey Weinstein had no legal recourse because they were ‘independent contractors’ working on films his studio was producing. Under this bill, those women, and individuals in any independent working arrangement, would be eligible to file sexual harassment complaints, rightly having access to a process for redress,” said Senator Phillips.

 

Adopt the definition of “sexual harassment” into state law. Although the NYS Division of Human Rights has a definition it uses administratively, there is currently no definition in statute of what constitutes sexual harassment. That leaves litigants subject to varying interpretations by judges, who may improperly dismiss sexual harassment cases at the outset. One study found that approximately 37 percent of cases are dismissed pretrial.

 

“Establishing a definition in state law offers protection for everyone involved in sexual harassment cases. With a consistent standard to evaluate claims, the subjectivity is removed, providing a clear benchmark for evaluating the merits of a case. This will benefit both claimants and the accused,” said Senator Young.

 

“Behind the revelations of recent weeks are real people – women and men who bear emotional scars from the harassment they endured and from the burden of remaining silent for so long. Yet, their stories and experiences have provoked a long-overdue national dialogue on sexual harassment and will lead to important changes in our laws. I am grateful for their courage and Senator Phillips and I will fight to ensure this legislation becomes law,” Senator Young concluded.

 

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Phillips Announces $3 million in Local Funding from Regional Economic Development Council

Senator Elaine Phillips  announced that 10 job creation and community development projects in the 7th Senate District will receive critically important state funding through the seventh round of Regional Economic Development Council awards.

 

“Funding for these crucial projects will strengthen our local economy, create jobs and expand innovative cultural programs in our communities,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with groups throughout Nassau County, including leaders in business, education, local governments, economic development and planning, to develop a list of job creation projects that achieve our goals of generating jobs and building a strong foundation for future growth.”

 

A total of $755 million was awarded statewide, with Long Island receiving $84.3 million for 98 projects.

 

The following projects in the 7th Senate District will receive more than $3 million in funding from the second round of the Regional Economic Development Council program:

 

County Project Project Title Amount
Nassau Incorporated Village of Manorhaven Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades Project $30,000
Nassau NYU Winthrop Hospital Certified Professional Coder Training $100,000
Nassau Oerlikon Metco, Co, Inc. Oerlikon Metco, Co, Inc. $100,000
Nassau Old Westbury Gardens Inc. Westbury House Roof Restoration $500,000
Nassau Spectronics Corporation Electrical Equipment and Appliance manufacturing Skills Training $39,623
Nassau The Feinstein Institute at Northwell Health Computational Genomics Center at Feinstein Institute for Medical Research $1,600,000
Nassau Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources Hempstead Works Career Pathways 7.0 $99,988
Nassau Town of North Hempstead Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail $450,000
Nassau Town of Oyster Bay The Workforce Partnership Medical Training Program $100,000
Nassau/Suffolk Long Island Traditions Connected Waters Heroes of the Harbors $51,000

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Awards New York State Senate Liberty Medal To Great Neck Teen

Oliver ReinSenator Elaine Phillips recently presented Oliver Rein, a 16-year-old Great Neck junior firefighter, with the New York State Senate’s Liberty medal, one of the highest civilian honors a New York resident can receive.

 

Earlier this year, Oliver extricated two injured individuals from a vehicle after the car had crashed into a tree.

 

“Oliver Rein embodies all of the characteristics of true hero: courage, bravery and selflessness,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Without hesitation, instead of running away or calling for help, Oliver ran toward the danger to ensure the driver and passenger received the care they needed. It was my pleasure to award Oliver with the much-deserved New York State Senate Liberty Medal for his tremendous act of heroism.”

 

Senator Phillips also presented a formal New York State Proclamation to David Adler, a Great Neck resident, who assisted Oliver in carrying the two people to safety.

 

Oliver and David were walking along Middle Neck Road in August when a car came speeding around a bend and crashed into a tree. Without hesitation, even though the car was smoking and sparking, Oliver, a two-year junior firefighter with the Great Neck Alert Volunteer Fire Company, ran to the car and pried open the crushed door. When he opened the door, he saw a motionless male driver in his 20s covered in blood. Unsure if the driver was alive at first, Oliver made verbal contact, extricated the man from the car and kept him calm until assistance arrived. Oliver and David carried the man to safety and pulled out a second passenger as well.

 

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is the highest civilian honor a State Senator can bestow on a New Yorker. It is awarded to citizens who have merited special commendation for their actions on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers and their community.

 

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Senator Phillips Joins North Shore Child-Family Guidance Center Officials Promoting Access to Mental Health Care

North Shore Child-Family Guidance CenterSenator Elaine Phillips joined North Shore Child-Family Guidance Center officials at a news conference today to promote the importance of affordable and timely mental health care for all New York residents. . The news conference unveiled results to “Project Access,” a study conducted by the center that explores roadblocks individuals face when trying to obtain mental health and addiction care.

 

“Timely and affordable mental health and addiction care should be accessible to anyone in need.” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “I applaud the North Shore Child-Family Guidance Center for its unwavering support and dedicated work to raise awareness of a problem that has affected far too many middle and working class families on Long Island. ‘Project Access,’ the Center’s recent study, sheds much needed light on the obstacles individuals face when trying to obtain care for mental health illnesses and substance abuse problems.”

 

“Project Access” is an initiative to improve access to mental health and addictions care. Nearly 650 Long Islanders responded to the survey, with almost half of the respondents indicating that it was more difficult finding help for mental health or substance abuse problems than finding help for physical illnesses.

 

The North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety, developmental delays, bullying, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, teen drug and alcohol abuse, and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce.

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Tours TRI Business & Career Center

TRI Business & Career CenterSenator Elaine Phillips recently toured the TRI Business & Career Center in Westbury. The center assists individuals with disabilities in reaching their highest level of independence through vocational and educational services.

 

“We are extremely fortunate to have organizations such as TRI Business & Career Center who work directly in our communities, placing individuals with disabilities in internships and jobs and providing opportunities for independence and success in the workforce. Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Thank you to Andrew Cohen and the dedicated staff at TRI for inviting me to tour the facility. It was a pleasure to learn first-hand of the many wonderful programs and services offered.”

 

The center offers a business and trade school program, a transition services program for young adults and other opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain internships and jobs. These services are designed to assist an individual in identifying personal and professional goals and include vocational assessment, counseling, training, remediation, day habilitation, production, and support services

 

TRI collaborates with the Town of North Hempstead’s “Project Independence” initiative, which provides light maintenance and cleaning services to aging residents of the Town, in an effort to ensure a safe and clean environment for those who wish to remain in their own homes. The company also manufactures and sells environmentally friendly cleaning products.

 

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Senator Phillips, NYU Winthrop Hospital to Host Holiday Toy Drive for Young Patients in Need

Toy DriveSenator Elaine Phillips is partnering with NYU Winthrop Hospital on a Holiday Toy Drive that will collect new, unwrapped toys for children in need.

 

“With the holiday season here, I am pleased to announce that I am partnering with NYU Winthrop Hospital to host a Holiday Toy Drive for children in need,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Long Islanders have a long-standing tradition of helping those less fortunate, and I encourage anyone who is able to please donate to our drive to share the holiday spirit with local children in need. ”

 

“Words can’t begin to express the appreciation we feel towards the generosity of both Senator Phillips and members of the community who participate in an initiative that that will undoubtedly put smiles on our patients’ faces the whole year through,” said Nicole Almeida, MS, CCLS, Director of the Child Life Program at NYU Winthrop Hospital.

 

Donations from the toy drive will benefit the Child Life Program at NYU Winthrop, which is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience. Certified Child Life Specialists utilize therapeutic play, arts and craft, and other diversions to ensure that the hospital experience is as stress-free as possible for children and their families. A vital program across the full spectrum of inpatient, outpatient and emergency services at NYU Winthrop, Child Life is supported in its entirety by philanthropic contributions.

 

Donations of new, unwrapped toys are currently being accepted now through December 15 at Senator Phillips’ Mineola office located at 252 Mineola Boulevard in Mineola. For questions, please call 516-746-5924 or email ephillips@nysenate.gov.

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Hosts Beach Cleanup at Sands Point Preserve

Sands Point PreserveSenator Elaine Phillips recently hosted a post-Thanksgiving beach cleanup and family nature walk event at the Sands Point Preserve.

 

“Thank you to all of those who took time out their busy holiday weekend to attend our Sands Point Preserve beach cleanup and family nature walk,” said Senator Elaine Phillips. “Protecting and preserving our environment is paramount, and I was pleased to see generations of families participating in the event,” Senator Elaine Phillips said.

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Attends ‘Veterans Stand Down’ Event

Veterans Stand DownSenator Elaine Phillips recently participated in the Nassau County “Veterans Stand Down” event and handed out cold weather items including, jackets, socks, shoes, coats and food donated by residents of the 7th Senate District for homeless veterans and veterans in need.

 

“As Americans, we owe no greater honor than that which we owe to our veterans for their selfless dedication and sacrifices to our country,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “While the donated clothing, accessories and food will help during the upcoming colder months, we must continue to ensure all veterans are properly cared for and given the resources they need. Thank you to the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency for hosting this important event, and thank you to all who donated goods.”

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Announces New York State Landmark Tax Relief Program to Take Effect January 1

GOP tax relief programSenator Elaine Phillips announced that the state’s landmark middle class tax cuts will take effect on January 1, 2018. Unlike the recently announced federal plan, the GOP tax relief program, authored by the Senate GOP, will save New York taxpayers billions of dollars and help tens of thousands of small businesses grow, thrive and create new jobs.

 

“New York’s taxpayers, including those right here on Long Island, will finally get the relief they need and deserve as a result of the Senate Republican’s efforts,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Now, taxpayers will be able to achieve a better quality of life and afford more goods and services, which will in turn, help stimulate and grow the local and state economy. My colleagues and I in the Senate are committed to fighting for our state’s hardworking taxpayers, and easing the burden of living in New York

 

One of the largest tax cuts in state history, this Senate Republican-driven cut will reduce middle class tax rates by 20 percent and ultimately provide $4.2 billion in annual savings for individuals and small businesses.

 

The tax cut plan reduces personal income tax rates for more than 4.4 million New Yorkers and tens of thousands of small businesses in the first year alone. For middle class taxpayers, savings will average approximately $250 in 2018 and grow to $700 annually. The cuts will save a total of $6.6 billion in just the first four years.

 

State income tax rates will become the lowest since 1948, with the rate decreasing from 6.85 to 5.5 percent when fully phased in, representing a 20 percent tax reduction and $4.2 billion in annual savings for 6 million middle class taxpayers.

 

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Senator Elaine Phillips Tours Spectronics Corporation in Westbury

Spectronics CorporationSenator Elaine Phillips recently toured Spectronics Corporation in Westbury.

 

“Thank you to Jon Cooper and Spectronics Corporation for inviting me to tour the facility and learn more about your current and upcoming projects,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Not only do they stimulate our local economy by creating jobs, Spectronics gives back to the community in numerous was, including supporting local STEM programs in our schools.”

 

Spectronics Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer of ultraviolet equipment and fluorescent materials and has been family owned and operated for 62 years.

 

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