Jan 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

DOJ accuses Cuomo of leading "sexually hostile work environment"

Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press briefing in August 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Department of Justice found that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his executive staff maintained a sexually hostile work environment and violated federal retaliation rules, according to a settlement announced Friday.

Driving the news: The DOJ reached an agreement with the New York State Executive Chamber to resolve claims - which Cuomo denies - that the chamber under Cuomo "engaged in a pattern or practice of sexual harassment and retaliation" in violation of Title VII.

Details: The department's investigation found that the executive staff under Cuomo subjected female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, failed to correct the problem on an agency-wide basis and retaliated against employees who spoke out about the harassment.

  • The report states that the Executive Chamber was aware of Cuomo's conduct "but failed to effectively remediate the harassment on a systemic level."
  • The chamber's response, the DOJ said in the report, "was designed only to protect Cuomo from further accusations, rather than to protect employees from sexual harassment."

Context: The findings come after New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple former and current government employees.

The other side: Cuomo's attorney, Rita Glavin, said in a statement that he "did not sexually harass anyone."

  • "At no point did DOJ even contact Governor Cuomo concerning these matters," she said. "This is nothing more than a political settlement with no investigation."

What they're saying: A spokesperson for the New York Attorney General's Office told Axios that the DOJ findings confirmed "what the New York Attorney General's independent report found over two years ago."

  • "Andrew Cuomo can continue to deny the truth and attack these women, but the facts do not lie," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who assumed the post after Cuomo's resignation, said she looks forward to partnering with the DOJ to continue reform efforts.

  • "The moment I took office, I knew I needed to root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Chamber and implement strong policies to promote a safe workplace for all employees, and took immediate action to do so," Hochul said in a statement.

Go deeper: Cuomo sues New York AG in bid to attain witness statements from harassment probe

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