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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Sexual harassment claims emerge from Salk Institute

A respected California science institute is under fire again for the behavior of one of its top scientists. The Salk Institute, based out of La Jolla, was recently featured in the news when eight female employees spoke out to the journal Science to say that they had experienced sexual harassment from a renowned biologist over several years. The scientists denies the allegations and the Salk Institute has launched an investigation. 

The women claimed that the biologist engaged in habitual sexual harassment while they worked at the institute. The oldest incident dated back more than 30 years. His alleged behavior included forced kisses, pinching and unwanted grabbing. At least one of the women claim that she was assaulted at a party. Another said that she always tried to avoid him. 

The senior scientist has been placed on administrative leave while an independent investigation is conducted. The Institute has gone on the record to say that it does not condone any type of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior from its employees. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the Institute has grappled with gender-based issues. Previously, other female employees charged the Institute with gender-based discrimination, although the facility denies the claim. 

No charges are pending for the scientist, and no details of any lawsuit have yet been released. Sexual harassment at work is a serious concern in California, and the women's employer could be held responsible if they can show that the research center knew about the harassment and did not take steps to prevent it. Any worker who feels that he or she has been the victim of inappropriate workplace behavior may wish to contact a lawyer to investigate his or her options for seeking justice. 

Source: kpbs.org, "Report: 8 Women Claim Sex Harassment At California Institute", May 2, 2018

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