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Action against sexual harassment in Orange County

Sexual harassment is finally getting the attention it deserves. But is action being taken to fight it?

The answer is yes, more and more, and one recent case here in Orange County is a good example. It not only shows how women are being taken more seriously, but demonstrates how claims of sexual harassment are properly investigated and handled. That it ended with termination of the harasser shows that things are finally changing and action is being taken.

Here in Orange County

On January 25, 2018, the Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF) voted unanimously to terminate their executive director  Julio Perez.  An investigation of complaints of sexual harassment spanning three months found there was "credible testimony from multiple women" of not only sexual harassment but retaliation for previous accusations.

In many ways, the result was a surprise.  Sexual harassment was alleged in October as part of a #MeToo posting on facebook.  It was immediately taken seriously and investigated.

What they didn't know

The women who made the accusation did not know that there had been a previous complaint, and a warning issued.  This was important for establishing that a pattern of sexual harassment was already established, which is a key part of any case.

In addition, the investigation found that Perez had retaliated against his previous accusers by taunting them on facebook.  There was a clear pattern of abusive behavior formed by all of this which stretched back years.  None of it would have come to light without the recent allegations, however.

Initiating the investigation

The incident which started the investigation that revealed the pattern of sexual harassment started with Perez showing one of the women pornographic pictures on his laptop while at work.  This is a clear violation of the standards issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). 

If you think that you may have been sexually harassed on the job, their publication is a useful guide.  It's important to know that one action may not be enough to trigger action, but a patter which creates a hostile work environment certainly is.

What we have learned

Several important lessons come to mind in the wake of this action taken by the OCLF:

  • Sexual harassment can, and does, happen anywhere
  • Accusers are being taken seriously, and action is being taken
  • You never know just what prior actions may establish a pattern of sexual harassment

It is time to stand up and put a stop to sexual harassment once and for all.  If you have faced sexual harassment, you don't have to be alone.  Accusations are being taken seriously, and your case may indeed be part of a pattern which has already been established.  Times have changed, and action is being taken to put a stop to sexual harassment on the job once and for all.

 

 

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