The Latest: Ex-Senate employee who reported misconduct sues
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on sexual misconduct in California government (all times local):
A former California Senate staffer has filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired in retaliation for complaining that former Sen. Tony Mendoza sexually harassed a young woman working in his office through a fellowship program.
Mendoza’s former legislative director Adriana Ruelas filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court. She was one of three aides fired from Mendoza’s office in September 2017.
Mendoza resigned Feb. 22 after investigators found he likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including the fellow. He’s denied wrongdoing.
The same investigators said the three aides were fired for reasons other than their sexual misconduct complaints.
Senate officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office is directing state agencies to establish a tracking system for discrimination and misconduct complaints and to update sexual harassment training.
A Tuesday directive from Brown’s cabinet secretary is the result of a working group that started meeting in December.
It directs agencies to update polices to ensure investigations are completed and documented even if an employee resigns during the investigation. It also tells state agencies to expand training for employees who must document and investigate complaints, extend prevention education to all state employees and to create clear codes of conduct.
Meanwhile, the California Legislature is in the process of updating its harassment training and policies following a series of misconduct allegations against lawmakers and staff members. Three lawmakers have resigned.