A former legislative employee for California Senator Bob Archuleta filed a complaint against the Senator and the State Senate on March 18, 2021 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court . The complaint alleges, Jane Doe, was pursued romantically by Senator Archuleta during her 1.5 years working for his district office before resigning in September 2020. Jane Doe alleges she experienced workplace discrimination and retaliation after rejecting Archuleta’s romantic efforts.
Jane Doe’s Allegations
The complaint claims Jane Doe endured unwanted sexual advances by Archuleta in 2019. On one occasion, Jane Doe alleges Archuleta insisted she accompany him for cocktails after a fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles in July 2019 . The lawsuit claims Jane Doe felt obligated to attend since Archuleta had driven her to the fundraiser. The suit alleges Archuleta persistently attempted to hold the plaintiff’s hand and became angry when she resisted. The plaintiff also alleges Archuleta made other inappropriate comments on the drive back to the district office. The following day in the office, Archuleta allegedly grabbed the plaintiff by her arm and reprimanded her. The plaintiff claims, Archuleta referred to this incident as “our first fight.”
The plaintiff claims she informed Archuleta’s chief of staff of the senator’s harassment and claims they did not take any actions to address her concerns. Jane Doe also alleges his district office harbored a culture of gender discrimination and sexism.
Jane Doe filed a complaint with the Legislature’s Workplace Conduct Unit which was created out of response to the #MeToo movement. She was contacted in June 2020 but the complaint alleges it “failed to carry out in a timely manner the very objective that formed its founding” prior to her decision to resign.
Senator Archuleta’s and The California Senate’s Responses
Archuleta denied the allegations and claims he “would never knowingly mistreat or disrespect a female employee” and added, he believes in her right to come forward. He also claims that he partook in the investigation but argues the suit “manufactures a whole new layer of gratuitous allegations” not mentioned during the investigation.
Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins claims neither the Senate or its investigative unit were not notified of some of the complaints alleged in the lawsuit. Atkins also stated, “[he] treat[s] any allegations of this nature and severity with the utmost gravity.” The investigation is currently on hold since the lawsuit was filed before the investigation ended.
Sexual harassment should always be taken seriously. If your workplace has failed to provide a safe work environment for yourself or a loved one, do not hesitate to get in contact with our firm.
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