An egregious case of sexual harassment has unfolded in San Diego, with the city's former mayor pleading guilty to three criminal charges, one of which is a felony. The case serves to remind us that people in positions of power are not immune to inappropriate behavior in the workplace, nor are they immune to justice.
California workers who have been victimized by sexual harassment should keep in mind, though, that criminal charges are not necessary to hold a wrongdoer accountable. A sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit can be brought in civil court, and this sort of legal action can lead to a monetary settlement for damages.
The case of Bob Filner has made international headlines, and for good reason. In all, at least seventeen women said he committed some form inappropriate sexual behavior. Specifically, in the criminal case, he pleaded guilty to two counts of battery and one count of false imprisonment. The charges were in connection with offenses against three women.
According to a former employee's sexual harassment lawsuit from earlier this year, the ex-mayor demanded that she kiss him. She also said he stated that he wanted to see her with her clothes off, and he even constrained her around the head and neck.
After the woman's story went public, other victims came forward and said they had been sexually harassed by Filner.
Now that he has pleaded guilty in criminal court, he will be sentenced in early December.
Victims of sexual harassment should not feel alone. It is possible to achieve the full measure of justice, and having an employment law attorney on your side can help achieve that end.
Source: BBC News, "Bob Filner pleads guilty to sexual harassment charges," Oct. 15, 2013