The New York Attorney General’s office is investigating Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. New York AG Letitia James expanded the investigation to examine whether the accusers faced retaliation by the three-term governor and his staff. The AG hired outside lawyers to examine how Cuomo and aids responded to the onslaught of accusations that engulfed the governor and his administration.
The investigation is specifically looking at calls and meetings before it released or leaked the personnel records of former aid and whistleblower Lindsey Boylan, who is now running for Manhattan borough president. The goal here would be to smear the credibility of Boylan and her testimony. Boylan’s initial complaint led several other women to step forward with their allegations against the governor.
“It is important that this investigation isn’t just centered around what Governor Cuomo said and did,” said one accuser’s attorney. “It must also focus on the culture of secrecy, abuse and fear that he fostered among his staff—frequently in violation of the very laws he signed to protect workers from sexual harassment.”
Cuomo faces allegations on several fronts, including the administration’s covering up of nursing home death numbers during the pandemic and the use of administrative staff to help prepare and promote a coronavirus memoir – he received $5.1 million in advances to write.
There are laws in place that protect workers who experience or witness illegal or inappropriate behavior. Whether the accused is a powerful leader and their staff, a manager or a business owner, the whistleblower has the right to a safe work environment and protected employment status. The laws define those protections, but many find it helpful to discuss these complex matters with an attorney before stepping forward with allegations. They can help make sure that organizations treat a client’s claim with respect.