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San Bernardino Legal Professionals in Hot Water Over Sexual Misconduct on the Job

— November 30, 2022

Sometimes victims are hesitant to report a claim of workplace sexual harassment as it could endanger their career and fiscal stability.

Four employees at the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office have filed a lawsuit alleging a longstanding culture of sexual harassment and misconduct by top management at the office, where they insist complaints fell on deaf ears. On November 5, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court, naming the county and former Public Defender as defendants. Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct also were lodged against other top officials at the office that included Chief Deputy Public Defenders  and Supervising Deputy Public Defenders.  

The former Public Defender was accused of controlling work assignments for female employees “as a subterfuge to obtain sex from female subordinates.” He allegedly carried on an extramarital affair with an investigator, who claims she was coerced into the relationship and joined the accused on a seminar, at taxpayers’ expense, where he plied her with alcohol and “took her to a hotel room … to indulge himself sexually with her,” the suit claims. When the investigator rejected the advances, things allegedly got violent and he continued to make threatening calls to her and endangered her while driving on the freeway after she threatened to reveal the affair to his wife.  Sexual and workplace harassment allegations must go through the proper channels to be heard and evaluated.  California sexual harassment attorneys can assist victims with this process.  


Sometimes victims are hesitant to report a claim of workplace sexual harassment as it could endanger their career and fiscal stability.  Victims of sex-based harassment often deny, or tone down an egregious situation to avoid, or ignore the negative behavior.  However, third parties can report actions of harassment, and in some instances this type of “third-party reporting” reduces the stigma on the first accuser, or victim of the abuse.  An estimated three out of four employees who have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work do not even report it to their supervisor, or human resources department.  Victims and/or witnesses to sexual harassment, or workplace discrimination in San Bernardino can report it.  It is best to check with the employer policy manual to ascertain steps to follow at the specific workplace and San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyers can guide actions for victims to take regarding incident reporting. 


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Complaints should include proof of the allegations whenever possible to support claims taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A positive settlement award may be the result of a strong case presented by seasoned lawyers. 

Legal counsel

Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim, witness, or third-party should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels at a place of employment. 

  • Direct reporting to the managing director of the harasser, and the human resources office.
  • Requesting mediation as an informal solution to resolve the office problems by utilizing the services of a trained mediator who may be able to facilitate communications between the parties in dispute.  
  • Grievance procedures.  Many employers have policies to address grievances on equal employment opportunity that employee should review.
  • All employees working in the United States have the option of making a formal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the alleged sexual harassment in the workplace, initiated within forty-five days of the alleged incident and follow all other requirements under the law. 


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