AABANY Provides Anti-Sexual Harassment Training to Community Organizations

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) was invited by the Asian American Federation and some of its member agencies – not-for-profit organizations that have substantial Chinese-speaking staff – to help with training their limited-English-proficient staff in their native languages on the prevention of sexual harassment in order to meet the new requirements under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law.

On behalf of AABANY,  Karen Kithan Yau, a co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and Eric Su, a co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee, both of whom are long-time employment lawyers, representing workers and employers respectively, gave three trainings, one in Cantonese Chinese, one in Mandarin Chinese, and one in English. The trainings took place in late September and early October. The training participants included kitchen and housekeeping staff, part-time teachers, museum staff, policy advocates, and an executive director. The discussion was rich, lively, and illuminating.

Every New York State employer is now required to provide sexual harassment training o their employees annually. That means that, as of October 9, 2019, every employer should have provided their first such training. Moreover, the New York State and City laws now protect virtually all employees, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services from sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus the need to provide linguistically and culturally competent instruction is acute. The New York City Human Rights Commission has provided impressive training materials, including online trainings in 11 languages. However, there remain employees who will need training in their native languages. Experienced employment attorneys or skilled trainers of human resources areas who are linguistically and culturally competent will continue to be needed.

Learn more about AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee here. Learn more about AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law Committee here. Thanks to Karen and Eric for providing these trainings to organizations serving the Asian American community.

New York State Complete Count Commission Announces Public Events to Prepare for 2020 Census

Beginning March 4 in Rochester, the New York State Complete Count Commission will hold six public hearings across the state for input from Census experts, advocates, and the general public about how to best ensure a complete count of New Yorkers in the 2020 census.

The Complete Count Commission, appointed last month, is tasked with building upon the sweeping efforts already underway to prepare for next year’s federal Census. With these meetings, the Commission is undertaking a multi-year, collaborative strategy involving all state agencies, local and county governments, non-profits and local stakeholders across the state.

Each meeting of the Commission will be open to the public and webcast. The events will feature detailed presentations to the Commission by various entities involved in the census, as well as testimony from advocates, and the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Specific details for public participation in the public comment portion of the events will be forthcoming.

The hearings scheduled are:

Monday, March 4, 2 p.m.
Rochester City Council Chambers
30 Church St.
Rochester, NY 14614

Monday, March 11, 6 p.m.
Hostos Community College
500 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451

Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m.
SUNY Sullivan
112 College Road
Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759

Friday, April 12, 3 p.m.
Suffolk County Legislature – William J. Lindsay County Complex – William H. Rogers Building
725 Veterans Memorial Highway
Smithtown, NY 11787

Friday, April 26, 10 a.m.
Mohawk Valley Community College – Utica
1101 Sherman Dr
Utica, NY 13501

Monday, May 6, 6 p.m.
Rockefeller Institute of Government
411 State St
Albany, NY 12203

Additional hearings may be scheduled at a later date.

In addition to the above hearings, members of the Commission will meet with stakeholders across the state to augment efforts.

For more information about the Complete Count Commission and New York’s efforts to ensure a full count in 2020, please visit https://www.ny.gov/programs/2020-census.

Congratulations to Ushir Pandit-Durant on Her Historic Induction as Queens Supreme Court Justice

On December 21, the Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant made history as the first South Asian judge elected to New York State Supreme Court in Queens and the first South Asian woman judge elected in New York State. Justice Pandit-Duran was sworn in by the Hon. Randall T. Eng (ret.), former Presiding Justice of the Second Department, New York State Appellate Division. Justice Eng was the first Asian American elected judge in New York State so it was especially fitting for one trailblazer in the Asian American community to swear in another trailblazer. Hon. Joseph Zayas, Administrative Judge of the Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term, presided.

Justice Pandit-Duran began her career as a Prosecutor in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, serving there with distinction for 25 years before being elected to New York City Civil Court in 2015, becoming the first South Asian to hold that elected office.

The induction took place at the Queens Supreme Court in Kew Gardens. Numerous speakers, including elected officials and community leaders, extolled Justice Pandit-Duran’s exemplification of the American Dream, coming here at age 10 not speaking a word of English and rising up to become a top prosecutor and now judge. As a South Asian, Justice Pandit-Durant reflects the diversity of Queens, one of the most diverse boroughs of New York City, with a large Asian population. Justice Pandit-Durant is herself a bar leader, having served as the first President of the South Asian Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens.

AABANY congratulates Justice Pandit-Durant on her historic election and wishes her continued success and achievement as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Congratulations to Hon. Lillian Wan, first Asian American woman in the New York State Court of Claims, confirmed by the New York State Senate on the evening of June 20, 2018. AABANY congratulates Judge Wan on this historic appointment. Please join us in wishing her every success in this next phase of Judge Wan’s judicial career.

Congratulations also to all the appointees confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 20:

  • JOEL M. COHEN 
  • JOHN R. HIGGITT 
  • FRANCIS A. KAHN III 
  • Hon. CHRIS ANN KELLEY 
  • DAVID L. LEWIS 
  • JAMES A. McCARTY, Jr. 
  • MICHELE SHARON RODNEY

Legislature Releases List of Candidates for Attorney General

Legislature Releases List of Candidates for Attorney General