A union leader from San Diego is now facing sexual harassment allegations. A civil court case filed by a female employee who worked with the man alleges that the union leader sexually harassed her while she was employed as an insurance clerk. The complaint also alleges gender discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment.
The woman, who is a single mother, said that the harassment began one year after she started working at the United Foods and Commercial Workers Union, and it continued for 15 years. She said that it would be sporadic and took the form of unwanted sexual advances and demands for sexual favors. It occurred at hotels, at the office and at local events. Eventually, the woman retired in July 2016. As a single mother who had a pension and was supporting her family, the woman did not want to jeopardize her source of security, so she endured the abuse.
According to her attorney, they have compiled strong evidence against the union leader, who the attorney said will be humiliated if he attempts to deny the abuse. However, the union leader said when asked for a comment that he does not provide comments on things that are not true. The union is further supporting the man, saying that the lawsuit is a pack of falsehoods and lies, and merely a strategy to discredit both the union and its leaders. However, there are other recently filed lawsuits pending against the United Foods and Commercial Workers Union as well.
The fact that this woman endured 15 years of sexual harassment in California is a tragedy. If she had reached out to an employment law attorney, she could have learned about her legal rights and options regarding the abuse and how to put a stop to it. She also could have sought financial compensation for damages, just as she is doing today.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Local Union Leader Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations,” Dec. 20, 2016