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Sexual harassment charges may cause removal of city officials

Through the years, many politicians have become embroiled in scandals when they have been caught abusing the power granted to them by their government positions. Sexual harassment has traditionally been one of the most common reasons that political figures have found themselves in trouble. After a major scandal that occurred a few years ago, a California city has proposed new legislation that would allow the city council the power to force the removal of the mayor or other officials accused of crimes.

In 2013, the mayor of San Diego became involved in a sexual harassment scandal. During a bitter and lengthy fight, the city attorney had to resort to bluffs and threats to eventually force the resignation of the former mayor. Ultimately, the former mayor's agreement to step down required the city of San Diego and its taxpayers to cover all the fees of the former mayor's legal defense as he battled several harassment lawsuits.

As it currently stands, the only way to force an official's removal is limited to the official's resignation, death or a recall election. The proposed changes would significantly expand the avenues available to the city's leadership to remove an elected official. For example, an official would be suspended at the time that criminal charges were made against him or her, or if it was determined that the official was declared physically or mentally incompetent by a judge.

Facing sexual harassment in any work setting can potentially be traumatic for the victims, and taking action may seem daunting. Seeking the counsel of a California attorney may be a good place to start, in order to determine what steps should be taken legally. People facing these situations may be entitled to compensatory damages in a civil suit that could assist in many costs, including those incurred due to lost wages or even psychological damages caused by pain and suffering that a victim might face.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "San Diego City Council wants more options to oust wayward officials", David Garrick, June 26, 2016

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