New York Lawmaker Takes Steps to Protect Fashion Models in Wake of Recent Sexual Abuse Allegations

In the wake of the recent sexual abuse and harassment allegations involving individuals in the entertainment industry, one New York lawmaker has taken action to prevent New York sexual harassment in an industry that had tacitly accepted that such abuses occur for decades. According to a recent news report, New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic had proposed an amendment to the state’s anti-discrimination laws that would clarify who can be held accountable in the fashion industry when a model is sexually abused or harassed.

Sexual Abuse and Harassment in the Fashion Industry

According to the report, the fashion industry has been plagued by rampant sexual abuse and harassment. Models have reported being asked to sit on clients’ laps, to undress for jobs that should not require it, and to remove clothes without any advance notice. Models who refuse these requests and demand the respect that they deserve too often find themselves without work.

Of course, sexual abuse and harassment of anyone – including models – is illegal under New York law, and those who experience either abuse or harassment can report the conduct to the police or district attorney’s office. However, due to the manner in which models are compensated, there is little accountability across the industry, with everyone along the employment chain turning a blind eye to what everyone knows is happening.

In part, this is due to the fact that fashion models are often hired as “independent contractors,” with their agencies acting only in an advisory capacity. This employment structure leaves significant uncertainty about whether agents or other parties involved in a model’s employment can be held responsible when abuse or harassment occurs. Indeed, the “incidental booking exception clause” has been used by some agents to avoid liability in the aftermath of confirmed abuse or harassment.

The Assembly Woman’s Proposed Amendment

The newly proposed amendment would take several steps toward providing models with more protection from sexual abuse and harassment. First, the amendment clarifies that models are protected under the state’s anti-discrimination statute. Second, it explicitly forbids sexual advances and commentary that are linked to a model’s employment. Finally, it requires that clients provide models with contact information for someone to whom they can reach out in the event of abuse or harassment.

Have You Been a Victim of Sexual Abuse or Harassment?

If you have recently been a victim of sexual harassment or abuse in New York, speak up. No one has to take this kind of abuse. If you have recently been victimized at work, contact one of the dedicated New York sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates, PLLC. At Phillips & Associates, we represent New York employees who have been subjected to all kinds of employment discrimination and harassment. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with this type of abuse on a daily basis, and we cater our representation to each client’s individual needs. We represent clients in all types of discrimination matters, including race discrimination, sex discrimination, age discrimination, and even discrimination based on criminal convictions. Call 212-248-7431 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Congress Considers Bills That Would Extend Sexual Harassment Protections to Unpaid Interns, New York Employment Attorney Blog, October 17, 2016

Sexual Harassment Allegations Mount Against University Scientists, Raising Questions of Legal Remedies, New York Employment Attorney Blog, February 17, 2016

Multiple Sexual Harassment Claims Filed Against New York City-Based News Network and Associated Individuals, New York Employment Attorney Blog, October 19, 2017

Contact Information