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L.A. Council President Threatens to Sever Ties to Water Agency Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Sexual Harassment

The Los Angeles City Council has threatened to cut off the city’s ties with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California due to allegations of sexual harassment. MWD makes up about 49% of the city’s total water, the rest coming from the Los Angeles Aqueduct and local groundwater [1]. The president of the Los Angeles City Council, Nury Martinez, has said that though it would be complicated to withdraw from this, it should be considered seriously to hold the district accountable.

What are the allegations being made?

A Los Angeles Times article had recently been published detailing a pattern of accusations from women saying they had been sexually harassed at work. Several women in the apprentice program said district officials ignored or dismissed their complaints. The article outlined that they allegedly did not investigate these complaints, felt forced to work near men who had abused them and felt compelled to drop down to lesser positions for less pay.

The Response

Martinez also allegedly made sure the City Council looked into the matter as well. They asked the Department of Water and Power if the city would be responsible for the legal liabilities associated with these, and if district officials were previously aware of the complaints.

Gloria Gray, the chairwoman of MWD, said she was disappointed by the actions of Martinez because they took these actions before reaching out to them in order to get a better understanding of the issues raised in the Los Angeles Times article. Gray says that all employees undergo sexual harassment training and that managers are required to report complaints that are independently investigated.

However, the union that represents these water workers says it has lost confidence in the independent investigation conducted by the board of directors, and are now calling for an audit by the state Legislature. The union says they have reason to believe the investigation would not be conducted fully and properly, especially for a resolution so desperately needed at this time.

Gray wrote that they will respect the process and will see the investigation until it is done properly and thoroughly. The ability to withdraw from the water district is unclear due to it being an important source of water, but Martinez is steadfast in that this does not mean they cannot be held accountable in the same way. This is an ongoing process, but all in the case recognize the severity of sexual harassment, and understand that the workplace cannot breed this kind of environment.

Reach Out to an Experienced Employment Law Firm for a Free Consultation

As employment attorneys in California, we are committed to ensuring our clients receive the rights they are entitled to as employees under federal law. If you are being sexually harassed at the workplace, reach out to Makarem & Associates. With some of the best employment law attorneys in California, we can provide you legal representation to help you reach the most ideal outcome. Get in touch with Makarem & Associates for a free consultation over the phone at 310-312-0299 or email at [email protected] to receive the right legal counsel.

[1] L.A. council president threatens to sever ties to water agency under fire over sexual harassment allegations