Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment

As the federal government wrestles with how to handle the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, the House recently passing a bill that would provide fast-track residency status to California farm workers. Still, those in the fields face additional burdens.
botina1.jpg
Orange County Sexual Harassment Lawyer Houman Fakhimi knows that for immigrant farm workers, particularly females, sexual harassment and even sexual assault is a constant threat.

As it is, these women are far from their families, their support systems and a familiar culture. They work in sweltering, back-breaking conditions for a pittance that they desperately need and feel constantly under the threat of being discovered by immigration officials.

Their circumstances leave them vulnerable to sexual harassment and abuse by both co-workers and supervisors. They feel they have no one to turn to and often, they may fear retaliation or reprisal or they don’t realize that they are protected under the law.

One of those who is the exception is a 40-year-old grandmother and farm worker in Salinas. A few years ago, she said she faced daily sexual harassment by her supervisor. First, he began asking her for a massage. Then, he would detail the ways he wanted to “be with” her. His suggestions seemed to become more lewd by the day.

This made her extremely uncomfortable, but she didn’t know what to do or where to turn. One day, on the way back from the fields, he told her the two of them needed to pick up some boxes. In an empty clearing, she says, he raped her. She described how she couldn’t even scream because she was in such shock and horror.

She didn’t file a police report. She was afraid to go to management, afraid she would be fired. She needed that work to feed her family. Her supervisor had told her that if she told anyone, he would make sure there were no other opportunities for her.

So she endured another seven months of facing this man every day. Finally, seven months later, she worked up the courage to file a complaint. She ultimately reasoned that she had daughters and sisters. She never wanted them to have to endure what she had been forced to endure.

Unsurprisingly, she was fired soon after lodging the complaint. She followed that with a civil lawsuit against the company. The supervisor of course denied the allegations, but the firm agreed to settle with her for an undisclosed amount three years ago. The terms of the settlement bar her from naming the company or how much was paid.

But her case is rare in that few immigrant women take the step of reporting what is happening to them.

A spokesman for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the entire farm worker system is established on the basis of a power imbalance. You have a supervisor who has the power to hire, fire, promote or retaliate. If that individual is a sexual predator, he or she is in a strong position to abuse that power. The immigrant may view her very survival as dependent on their compliance – and silence.

The EEOC reports that in the last 15 years, it has handled some 185 charges of sexual harassment in the agricultural industry. That’s more than what is seen in any other state, but it’s still believed to be a very skewed reflection of the problem. The actual number of harassment and assault incidents are almost assuredly much higher.
Continue Reading

Sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military has garnered the center-stage spotlight this year, with victims’ advocates jeering the military’s efforts to do more to curb the danger endured each day by female soldiers.
hallwaytoheaven.jpg
However, Westminster Sexual Harassment Attorney Houman Fakhimi knows that, much like in the private sector, the victims often seen as the most vulnerable are males. They tend to feel less free to report such violations and are often harshly scorned when they do. Victims fear punishment, being ignored, ridiculed or even violent reprisal.

A recent report from the Pentagon estimates that some 26,000 service members experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact at some point in 2012. That was a nearly 37 percent increase from the 19,000 tallied two years earlier in 2010.

The report went on to say that of those 26,000 unwanted instances of sexual contact, nearly 55 percent involved attacks on men. The large majority of those involved cases in which other men were the aggressors.

As some male victims of military sexual assault point out, while there are those who claim only a small portion of the military is dealing with this issue, the reality is that it affects both genders and individuals of all ranks.

“It’s a cultural problem,” said one male victim.

It’s true that women are far more likely than men to be sexually harassed or assaulted, but it’s also far more likely for male victims not to report incidents.

For years, that had to do with anti-gay policies in the military, such as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The fear was that any reported sexual contact between individuals of the same sex – even if it was forced – would be grounds for the top brass to discharge both parties. There is evidence that this did in fact occur on more than one occasion.

Male soldiers say instances of sexual assault haven’t risen a great deal, but rather that it was more widely tolerated before women became commonplace among the ranks.

Male victims reported internalizing those awful memories, often resorting to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain that stemmed from a deep well of shame and confusion.

Instances of “sexual hazing” included having genitals shoved in one’s face, simulated sodomy and forced cuddles. All of which, aside from being potentially criminal, undoubtedly contributed to a hostile work environment.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that about 15 percent of all claims of sexual harassment made annually are filed by men. However, the actual percentage of victims is believed to be much higher.

Sometimes, just like female victims, male victims may tolerate the abuse for extended periods of time because they may be unclear if what they are experiencing is actually harassment. They may also assume, particularly if the aggressor is a female, that they have few rights in the situation. That isn’t true. It is never alright for someone to make you feel unsafe or pressured or forced into a sexual or romantic relationship. Likewise, it is unacceptable for anyone to have to endure sexually-charged harassment at work, regardless of whether he or she is the direct subject of the harassment.

Male victims of sexual harassment should seek out a law firm with compassion and extensive experience in these types of cases.
Continue Reading

It’s summer, and many teens will be entering the workforce for the first time.
sisterstudying.jpg
It’s an unfortunate reality that some of them may become victims of sexual harassment by superiors or older co-workers who see them as vulnerable, unaware of their rights and unlikely to speak up. The offenders are of course correct in all of those assumptions, which is why Fontana Sexual Harassment Attorney Houman Fakhimi encourages parents to take a few minutes to discuss sexual harassment with your child who is new to the workforce.

Talk about what it is, how to recognize it and what your child should do if he or she encounters it. Most importantly, they must know that such behavior is not a normal part of working, and it not something that they must or should tolerate.

Several recent cases prosecuted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission illustrate just how unfortunately common such cases are.

The first is out of Hawaii, involving a national Chinese restaurant chain. The EEOC reported that the company recently agreed to pay $150,000 to settle claims that at least three teenage girls were sexually harassed while working there between 2007 and 2009.

The culprit was allegedly a male kitchen supervisor. The workers who were victimized were between the ages of 17 and 19 years-old. They were subjected to daily barrages of sexual comments, sexually vulgar language and repeated sexual advances at every shift.

The girls did the right thing by informing higher ups within the company about what was going on, in an attempt to get the supervisor to stop. However, the EEOC claims in its suit, EEOC v. Panda Express Inc., no corrective action was ever taken.

The lawsuit was filed last year by the EEOC’s regional office in Los Angeles, but was settled in May, just ahead of trial. In addition to paying the fine, the chain has agreed to revise all of its anti-harassment policies and to train all general managers in the state regarding those revised policies. An in-house equal employment opportunity coordinator must also be designated to ensure compliance is met.

Another recent case involves a pizza shop in Maryland. According to the EEOC complaint, the owner of the restaurant reportedly subjected numerous female employees – some of them teenagers – to sexual harassment. This included touching them on their buttocks, backs and shoulders, as well as rubbing his genitalia on the buttocks of female employees, leering at them and making comments about their bodies. He repeatedly used crude sexual innuendos, made sexually suggestive remarks and often asked for massages.

In some instances, he pressured female workers to stay later after their shift to drink alcohol with him. If they refused, he would act offended. One of the women reportedly said that the owner pressured her to drink until she passed out, which she later came to believe was an attempt on his part to sexually assault her.

In another instance, an employee said the owner invited her to his home to discuss a management opportunity. Instead, she says, she was drugged and sexually assaulted.

Several employees say it was so bad they were forced to quit. Management was made aware of the problem, and yet nothing was done to address it.

Teens need to be made aware that they have a right to work in an environment that is free from any type of harassment and that they have a right to complain about job treatment that is believed to be illegal without fear that you will be discriminated against for it.

If you believe your teenager has been sexually harassed at work, call us today.
Continue Reading

In response to alleged mishandling of sexual harassment claims on college campuses throughout the country, the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights issued a 47-page open letter to the University of Montana – one of many such offenders – outlining a “blueprint” for how to identify sexual harassment. universitylife.jpg

This blueprint was heralded as a guide for all college campuses across the country in trying to determine what conduct or action qualifies as sexual harassment, per the legal standard.

Our San Bernadino sexual harassment lawyers understand the rules greatly expand the scope of the definition of sexual harassment.

The document has come under fire from various civil rights groups, saying that as broadly-written as it is, it could violate First Amendment rights, prompting the OCR to issue clarification that its new directives should not be misconstrued as an attempt to suppress free speech.

Specifically, the offending passage refers to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that can include unwelcome requests for sexual favors, sexual advances and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which may include sexual assault or other acts of sexual violence. The portion of the text that alarmed First Amendment defenders was that pertaining to “verbal conduct,” or, in other words, speech.

But clearly, the agency was not attempting to quell free speech. The goal is to curb sexual violence and sexual harassment on college campuses – a very real problem that has historically been very poorly addressed.

The case that prompted the agency’s review started in Montana in the fall of 2011. Two female students reported to the university that they had been sexually assaulted on campus by male students. The suspects were football players. The university hired an independent investigator, who later learned there had been seven additional reports of student-on-student sexual assault on campus between the fall of 2010 and the winter of 2011.

The independent investigator advised the university to implement better safety measures for students and more to provide more information regarding sexual harassment.

The Department of Justice subsequently launched its own investigation into allegations of on-campus sexual assaults and sexual harassment. The agency found that the university had conflicted policies on when sexual harassment was supposed to be reported and to whom. Also, definitions of sexual harassment, per the university policy, weren’t consistent.

The DOJ indicated that on-campus sexual harassment is sufficiently pervasive or severe when it creates a hostile environment that denies or limits a student’s ability to benefit or participate in the school’s programming. However, the DOJ said this definition doesn’t go far enough, and that sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. The DOJ rejected the argument that the conduct must be objectively offensive “to a reasonable person” in order to be considered sexual harassment.

What’s more, the DOJ advised enhanced training of staff in these matters and clearer policies with regard to reporting violations and grievances. Deans who have a dual role in investigating complaints and then subsequently presenting cases on behalf of the university to the university court have an obvious conflict of interest.

Additionally, the DOJ indicated that many campuses lack adequate protections for all forms of sexual harassment, including those that lack specific threats, damage to property or bodily injury.

And lastly, the DOJ advised that universities need to do more to extend their policies to situations of sexual harassment that may arise off-campus.

Sexual harassment on college campuses is not a new thing. It is only just now gaining significant attention from state and federal authorities.

With these expanded definitions, students and employees at universities should have an easier time bringing forth sexual harassment claims for damages.
Continue Reading

He was once the head of Infosys, India’s second-largest software services exporter.

However, he was forced out following a sexual harassment lawsuit, which was later settled out of court.
toque.jpg
He then took up at the California-based iGate CEO.

Now, our Irvine sexual harassment lawyers have learned, his career is taking a familiar turn.

Phaneesh Murthy is once again facing a sexual harassment lawsuit, this time claiming that he harassed the company’s investor relations executive, made her pregnant and then attempted to pressure her to have an abortion or quit.

Instead, the iGate Corp. board has fired Murthy, following a probe of his actions by outside legal counsel. While most of the firm’s employees are located in India, the company is based in California. The company has already named an interim chief executive.

The very fact that Murthy had a relationship with a subordinate was dangerous legal grounds for him. A consensual relationship between a superior and a subordinate doesn’t automatically equal sexual harassment. The question, however, is how much were those lines of consent blurred by the imbalance of power.

In the old case, a subordinate employee, a Bulgarian-American, accused Murthy of sexual harassment and wrongful termination. We don’t know all the details of that case, except for that the two apparently had some form of sexual contact during the time both worked for Infosys. At some point, the female employee took out a restraining order against Murthy.

She then complained about being not only sexual harassed but forced to quit her job. The board said an internal investigation couldn’t prove definitively that sexual harassment had occurred. However, it faulted Murthy with failing to disclose the relationship as well as the protection order. As such, it fired him – but still gave him a $575,000 parting settlement for breaking his contract.

The firm later paid $3 million to the plaintiff.

Now, Murthy is facing similar sanctions, although the plaintiff remains an employee at the firm in question.

The plaintiff says Murthy began sexually pursuing her shortly after she joined the company in the spring of 2010. She said he would insert himself into her personal life, using the pretext that such actions were a necessity of business.

Representatives for the plaintiff said that but for the tremendous personal and economic power the CEO had over the victim, she would not have engaged him in any sexual activity. She said she did so only because he was her direct supervisor and her continued employment, which allowed for basic living expenses, was dependent upon him. Further, she said, he told her that if she hoped to continue her employment and advance her career, she would have to engage in a sexual relationship with him. She did so, she says, reluctantly.

When she tried to break it off, she says, he slashed her hours and reduced her responsibilities. He also threatened to fire her and placed additional pressure on her not to leave him.

In continuing the relationship, she says, she ultimately became pregnant. Upon this discovery, she says, Murthy pressured her to have an abortion. When she told him she would not, he demanded that she quit.

Instead, she filed a lawsuit.
Continue Reading

Students from four U.S. universities – two of those in California – have filed federal complaints alleging that their schools did not take appropriate action to address campus sexual harassment and assault.
school.jpg
Orange County Sexual Harassment Attorney Houman Fakhimi understand that the students each filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. The schools at the center of the controversy include the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California, as well as Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

These cases represent part of a growing trend, with students filing complaints relative to Title IX sexual harassment violations as well as violations of the Clery Act. The latter, a federal statute, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), holds that colleges and universities that collect federal financial aid must keep and disclose information regarding violent crimes on or near campus. Compliance is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education, and civil penalties of $35,000 per violation can be inflicted. Institutions may also face suspension from federal financial aid programs, which serves as a far more substantial threat.

The complaints ask that the Department of Education launch investigations into each claim.

The reality is, most colleges do all they can to downplay incidents of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault because they don’t want to damage their reputations, which in turn might negatively impact admissions. However, they end up compromising both student safety and justice for victims in the process.

A similar complaint was filed by the Occidental College in Los Angeles just last month. In that case, 37 students alleged that since 2009, the school had failed to properly investigate claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus and also that it failed to properly document such claims, per the Clery Act.

In some of those instances, allegedly, perpetrators were allowed back on campus, even though it had been found they were responsible for engaging in non-consensual intercourse.

One student said she a dean discouraged her from reporting a rape. Another student, when she told an administrator she did not feel safe, was told not to worry because the administrator had met her alleged attacker and he “didn’t seem like the type of person who would do something like that.” That individual was allowed back to the school even after he was found responsible for attacking her and two other women.

Occidental representatives say they have improved sexual misconduct procedures.

But the problem continues to be widespread at college campuses not only across California but throughout the country.

In 2011, the Obama administration issued a new, more stringent interpretation of responsibilities held by universities under Title IX. The administration warned that many schools were in violation of the law because they were using a less stringent interpretation of the law.

This may have something to do with the increase in complaints.

But overall, claims of sexual harassment are down. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that there were about 15,500 complaints in 2000, compared to about 7,500 complaints filed in 2012. Part of that may be due to the fact that we as a country have gotten better educated about what sexual harassment is and why it mustn’t be tolerated.

Still, claims that are made are receiving higher payouts than ever, suggesting egregious violations continue to happen. The EEOC reports that about $56 million was paid out in 2000 for 15,500 complaints, versus $43 million paid out in 2012 for half that many.
Continue Reading

A student at a northern California university has alleged that a professor sexually harassed and assaulted her after she confronted him about a bad grade.
retroclassroom.jpg
He reportedly admitted to inappropriate actions during the encounter, according to a recent report by investigative journalists, yet has not faced any administrative or criminal penalties.

Westminster Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Houman Fakhimi knows many times, victims face an uphill battle in proving their claim. When they fail to get satisfactory results through appropriate administrative channels, it’s time to reach out to an experienced legal representative.

In this case, it’s not only about justice for what allegedly happened to this young woman, but also about protecting other young females from someone whose reported actions suggest predatory tendencies that could put other students at risk.

According to a report from the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, the problem started when the student showed up for a scheduled meeting to discuss a poor grade she had received from an adjunct professor the previous semester. She wanted to understand what happened.

She said when she arrived for the meeting, the professor told her that she had plagiarized a substantial portion of her final paper. She denies this, though she does admit she failed to properly cite a number of sources.

Rather than leaving it at that, the professor then reportedly turned to her and asked if she wanted to better her grade. The student alleges he then came close to her and began touching her, eventually straddling her and putting his hands up her shirt and under her sweater.

The encounter, which occurred after hours in a secluded part of the building, reportedly lasted for two hours. When the student got up to leave, the professor allegedly blocked her exit and refused to allow her to pass.

She eventually said she was able to break away and run down the stairs and out of the building. She contacted university police a few hours later to report the incident.

Initially, investigators were exploring charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. However, the professor indicated that it was the student who had come on to him – something the student vehemently denies.

Essentially, it had become a he-said-she-said situation, and no criminal charges were filed. An administrative review reportedly resulted in no action as well.

This was despite the fact that the day after this reportedly happened, the professor wrote an e-mail to the student, apologizing for his “terrible mistake” and offering to change her grade from a D- to a B- “because it is the right way to handle this.”

The professor later told administrators that there was touching and kissing that occurred between the two, but that it was a consensual encounter.

It’s extremely troubling that there is acknowledgement from the accused that something untoward occurred, and yet, he has suffered no consequences. The university determined that even if the situation was consensual, the imbalance of power between a student and an instructor is such that a student may feel compelled to consent to activities she otherwise would not in order to attain success.

Professors are in a unique position over young, impressionable students. Exploitation of any kind is intolerable, and should be addressed swiftly and decisively.
Continue Reading

A former dispatcher for the Newport Beach Police Department has filed suit against the chief, as well as the department, claiming sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and wrongful termination. workers04.jpg

Newport Beach Sexual Harassment Lawyer Houman Fakhimi has learned that the complaint was recently filed in Orange County Superior Court, and that the chief, the city attorney and the city manager have all denied the accusations.

An outright denial of course is common in these cases, especially at the outset of the case. The defendants have everything to lose by admitting wrongdoing, and they usually have the resources to vigorously fight back – often painting the accuser as unstable and untrustworthy or a problem employee.

Claimants should know to steel themselves for this before even filing a claim. The defendant’s initial reaction will typically have little bearing on the end result. It’s simply standard procedure to deny, deny, deny.

In this case, the female dispatcher has alleged that the chief made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to her and used to intimidate her after her husband, a former police officer with the department, testified against the chief and other department officials in a separate case.

An administrative appeal of her termination is still pending, according to agency officials.

Her husband, too, has sued the department, alleging wrongful termination and retaliation. That case as well is pending. In that situation, the husband had attested to corruption and cronyism within the department. Those actions were reportedly prior to the new chief assuming his position a few years ago. However, much of the same type of behavior continued, according to the plaintiffs.

The former dispatcher’s husband was reportedly subjected to a series of retaliatory internal investigations before he was ultimately fired. The dispatcher said that after her husband was fired, she began to be the subject of harassment.

In one instance, she reported that the chief initiated an hour-and-a-half, closed-door, one-on-one discussion in which he sat inches from her face and used threatening language.

In other subsequent instances, she alleges that the chief would stand unusually physically close to her, once telling her that he “REALLY” like her, which had the obvious effect of making her feel both uncomfortable and intimidated.

These incidents were reported through appropriate administrative channels, but nothing was ever apparently done to address them.

Then in early 2011, the dispatcher was troubled following the outcome of a difficult 911 call. Officials within the department would later use her reaction to this call as the basis on which she was terminated. She was reportedly deemed to have been “disruptive,” and was subsequently fired.

All employers are responsible for taking reasonable actions to prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring. Those measures include developing and implementing harassment prevention policies – complete with a uniform procedure for the filing and investigation of complaints – as well as the duty to fully inform the complainant of his or her rights and the responsibility to fully and effectively investigate and take prompt and effective corrective action if warranted.
Continue Reading

Two measures intended to protect California’s migrant workers from exploitation – including sexual harassment – have cleared the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee.
strawhat.jpg
Orange County Sexual Harassment Lawyer Houman Fakhimi hopes that these measures will be given careful consideration by our legislators.

The first measure, Senate Bill 516, is labeled as an act relating to human trafficking. It builds upon existing law under Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act, which holds that any person who deprives another of personal liberty with the intent to obtain forced labor or servitude is guilty of human trafficking, and should face a prison sentence and a fine of up to $500,000.

This new measure would prohibit employers in California from hiring foreign workers that are brought to this country by labor contractors who aren’t registered with the state. Labor contractors that are registered are subject to scrutiny by the state’s Labor Commission, which seeks to determine whether contractors are violating worker rights.

Additionally, S.B. 516 would be barred from certain practices, such as charging recruitment fees to workers, which is a commonplace gouging tactic that is often employed by human traffickers.

Meanwhile, the other measure, Senate Bill 666, addresses employment retaliation, specifically by employers of foreign workers who complain about unsafe or unfair working conditions.

It’s common for many immigrant workers to be treated poorly and subjected to working conditions that we would never deem acceptable for American workers. However, immigrant workers are often caught in a difficult position because employers simply threaten to turn the workers over to immigration officials if they file a formal complaint.

With this bill, the immigrant workers would be given some leverage, which would involve fines of up to $10,000 for a violation.

If the legislation is passed, it would help to assist individuals like “Angela,” who came to the U.S from east Asia, hoping to make a better life for herself. However, the labor contractor who helped her to secure a visa then turned around and told her that she owed $12,000 and that she would have to work for a decade to pay off that debt.

Her days stretched on for 18 hours at a time at a nursing home, where she was forced to sleep in the hallway and given only scraps of food to eat. When she tried to escape, she was threatened with deportation.

Another huge problem for foreign workers, is sexual harassment and sexual violence. It’s rampant, particularly in the agricultural industry. However, few victims report it because they fear severe retribution.

Other workers are frequently exposed to dangerous conditions. Many work long hours in intense heat with few breaks and little water. One foreign worker, a 17-year-old pregnant female, recently collapsed and died from heat exhaustion one afternoon while working in a California vineyard.

To top it off, the wages that are paid are unlivable.

Targeting the employers who perpetuate these kinds of conditions will ultimately make California a safer, more humane place to work.
Continue Reading

Riverside Sexual Harassment Attorney Houman Fakhimi has learned that a Los Angeles city councilman and city controller hopeful, has announced his intention to audit the police department’s risk management division in order to unearth an answer as to why so many officers are embroiled in litigation.
police.jpg
A good number of those cases involve claims of sexual harassment, many of which were substantiated. As we recently reported in our Rancho Cucamonga Sexual Harassment Lawyer Blog, two of those cases brought recently by lesbian officers resulted in a $1 million settlement.

But that’s actually a small portion of the overall total. Councilman Dennis Zine says that the city has spent nearly $50 million on legal settlements in the past few years. Zine says many of these cases were avoidable, if only commanders had been more efficient in terms of policing their own ranks. Zine himself is a former Los Angeles Police Department officer.

While we admire Zine’s tenacity in rooting out what is clearly a serious problem within the LAPD, it’s interesting that in announcing his resolve, he makes no mention of a sexual harassment claim that was made against him back in 1997.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Zine was a sergeant at the time and he and another female officer were on a business trip to Canada. She was invited to attend a police competition with Zine as his guest in Canada. She believed the two to be platonic friends. She later alleged Zine had made inappropriate sexual advances toward her during that trip.

Zine would later defend himself by saying that not only were the claims exaggerated, but that the two had actually been dating.

The department conducted an internal investigation of the alleged incident, and ended up finding no proof of wrongdoing. Of course, proof may be difficult to come by when it’s the word of a subordinate against a superior. What’s more, the Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to handling these sorts of situations – as Zine himself is alleging.

It’s also worth noting that a disciplinary board reviewed that internal investigation and said that while it may not have been able to find him guilty of any wrongdoing, he was given a verbal lashing for conduct that was indicative of “unbelievably poor judgment.”

The officer who had initially made the allegation then filed a civil action against the department. We know that the city paid about $60,000 to defend against that claim, but Zine eventually reached an undisclosed personal settlement with the accuser.

Today, the councilman says his memory of the incident, the lawsuit, the details of the settlement – all fuzzy, conveniently. He says the important thing is that his conduct didn’t occur at work and it didn’t cost the city millions of dollars, like some other claims.

It’s worth noting that whether or not inappropriate conduct between a superior and a subordinate actually happens at work doesn’t matter. And a lower claim payout doesn’t necessarily mean the allegations were any less legitimate.
Continue Reading