BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York state Assembly is asking the courts to prohibit the state Division of Human Rights from holding a public hearing or any other further proceedings with regards to sexual harassment claims a former staffer has brought against state Assemblyman Pat Burke, D-Buffalo, as long as the Assembly continues to be named as a co-respondent in the claim.

Burke's former staffer, Nicole Golias, originally filed the claim in April 2023, alleging Burke subjected her to sexual harassment and created a hostile work environment by using inappropriate sexual language and behavior. Among them, she claimed he made comments about his son's sexual encounters after viewing "video tapes" and claimed it did not matter if the women were of legal age of consent.

She also claimed the lawmaker has conversations with male co-workers about the genitals of a man she was dating, said he wanted to hang out with her friends who he had previously indicated he had found attractive and asked her if she pressed her breast on men when she flirted with them, among other things. Burke has denied the claims.

The Human Rights Division issued a determination after the investigation there was "probable cause" to send a sex discrimination complaint to public hearing. However, it later amended the complaint to include the Assembly as well. In its action, attorneys for the Assembly argue Golias did not originally name the body as a respondent, nor have she or SDHR put forth any allegations it was aware of alleged inappropriate interactions between Burke and her.

Golias was one of three staffers Burke fired following a disagreement over his response to the racially-motivated mass murder at a Buffalo Tops supermaket.