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Date for California councilman's sexual harassment trial set

A trial date has been set for a member of the Los Angeles City Council who is facing allegations of workplace sexual harassment. Beginning on Nov. 10, a court will hear from both sides regarding the charges he is facing. The 45-year-old councilman is facing accusations from an aide who suggests that he subjected her to a continuous barrage of retaliatory behavior causing a hostile work environment in response to her refusal to perform sexual activities with him. The woman's attorney suggested that he would call 20 witnesses to the stand in the case.

The councilman contends that he actually engaged in consensual relations with the aide and that the affair compelled him to seek forgiveness from his wife and their four children. Although the president of the city council formed a committee to investigate the aide's accusations in 2013, the woman's attorney would not give her permission to meet the panel, believing that the councilman's apparent close friendship with the council president would hinder her chances of fair treatment.

The form of harassment alleged by this councilman's aide, in which one employee bargains with another for sexual favors and threatens retaliation for unmet demands, is known as quid pro quo harassment. Other forms of sexual harassment include but are not limited to sexual assault, lewd jokes, unwelcome touching, insults related to actual or perceived sexual orientation, and sharing of explicit images.

Workers of either gender in California that have been faced with unwanted sexual attention from coworkers at any level may benefit from contacting legal counsel to discuss available options. Employment lawyers with experience representing harassed employees may be able to obtain restitution for such plaintiffs.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Trial date set in L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar sexual harassment case ", David Zahniser, March 10, 2014

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