NYC Commission on Human Rights
#MeToo movement’s resurgence in 2017 led to a global reckoning. It brought widespread sexual harassment into the public eye and propelled reform in worker protections. Founded in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke to support survivors of harassment and abuse, #MeToo became a universal and unifying movement when survivors joined together on social media in response to allegations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. This movement catapulted national discussions into legislative action, increasing awareness of workplace climates where
Bolstered by community and activist support, #MeToo led to vast and encouraging legal reform at the state and local levels. The
In particular, New York City passed the
This legislation, in part, was enacted in response to the brave and telling testimony given during the
Despite notable progress at the state and local levels, additional legal reform and workplace protections are crucial to build on the momentum galvanized by #MeToo. Increased awareness and robust “know your rights/obligations” trainings are essential to safeguard all workers from sexual harassment and retaliation regardless of the industries they work in or the communities they live in.
The pandemic’s devastating social and economic effects exposed the deep inequalities facing women in the labor force, especially low-wage workers and women of color. In fact, sexual harassment has seen an uptick during the pandemic, in particular, among the tipping service industry where
This is a pivotal and crucial time to build on the momentum spurred by #MeToo and combat all forms of sexual harassment. To this end, ensuring equal protection under the law for all workers requires:
To fully move #MeToo into a landscape where individuals are free from gender-based discrimination and retaliation, efforts to continue awareness about, advocacy for, and reporting of these destructive practices must remain at the forefront. As we witnessed from the powerful accounts shared by individuals during the #MeToo movement and at public hearings such as the NYC Commission on Human Rights public hearing, so often the voices, experiences and brave testimony of survivors lead to change. However, this burden must not be solely on survivors; all of us must play a part to elicit action and change with a shared commitment to eliminate sexual harassment and retaliation in all workplaces.
Christina Piaia is a Supervising Attorney of the Gender-Based Harassment Unit at the Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. At the Commission, Christina works extensively on claims involving gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment in the workplace. As part of her work, Christina engages in wide-ranging outreach efforts to educate the public, particularly low-wage workers, about their rights in the workplace. Prior to joining the Commission, Christina spent three years as an international human rights attorney, working on the ground to eradicate early, child, and forced marriage in Guatemala, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Prior to her international work, Christina focused on litigation in the practice area of family law and as a journalist for The Associated Press. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and a JD degree with a concentration in human rights. As a passionate public interest attorney, Christina proudly serves on the board of The Chris Hondros Fund and Too Young To Wed.
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