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Bryant Whitten, LLP

New sexual harassment claim against political party, former chair

Over the last several months, there have been a series of sexual harassment allegations against leaders in California's political scene. Now, a former employee of California's Democratic Party has sued the organization as well as its former chairman.

The man alleges the former leader sexually assaulted him. Specifically, the man said he felt compelled to perform sexual acts with the former chair. The former chair allegedly gave a veiled threat to the man that if the man refused, the chair would harm the man's career.

The man raises several legal claims, including claims that the Democratic Party allowed for a hostile work environment and did not do enough either to supervise the chair or prevent sexual harassment. The claims against the chair include assault and sexual battery.

The man is seeking compensation for lost wages as well as for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. He has also asked for the court to consider awarding him punitive damages and his attorney fees.

For their parts, both the Democratic Party and the former chair have declined to comment further. The chair summarily denied the allegations.

If anything, these latest allegations illustrate that sexual harassment can happen even among employers who both should know better and who, in fact, have a track record of advocating for victims of sexual harassment. All employers, no matter their line of work, have an obligation to constantly examine their methods for preventing sexual harassment and for maintaining high ethical standards in this respect, particularly among their highest levels of leadership.

As this recent case illustrates, Californians who have been the victims of sexual harassment may have various legal claims available to them in their quest for justice.



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