Sexual Harassment Lawsuit and Allegations Dog San Diego Mayor: Implications for Your Struggles at Work?

If your boss sexually harassed you or discriminated against you at work, you may feel a lot of sympathy for Irene McCormack Jackson, the former spokeswoman for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Ms. Jackson has sued her old boss for subjecting her and several other female colleagues to an ongoing campaign of groping and “crude and disgusting” workplace comments.

Since Jackson made her shocking allegations, nine other women have come forward, also accusing the Mayor of similarly aggressive, despicable workplace behavior.

A CNN story about the 70-year-old Filner highlighted the account of one woman, Renee Estill-Sombright, who said that the Mayor approached her in June at a church banquet. He called her “beautiful,” asked to take her out, and asked whether she was married. Estill-Sombright said “I felt kind of weird” about the Mayor’s comments.

Filner sought to use public funds to defend against the sexual harassment charges. But the San Diego City Council voted that idea down. In the wake of increasingly hostile public opinion, Filner recused himself from mayoral duties to undergo two weeks of therapy.

He also admitted to bad behavior, in a statement at City Hall that he dedicated to “all the women I have offended.” Filner said “the behavior I have engaged in over many years was wrong. My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable.” Filner asked for sympathy: “I need help… I’m clearly doing something wrong.”

Case watchers were skeptical that two weeks of therapy would do much, if anything, to alter the behavior of the ex-Congressman and first time Mayor.

Some of the allegations in Jackson’s lawsuit are particularly salacious. For instance, under oath, she said that Filner once put her in a headlock and dragged her around the office. He also allegedly asked her to come to work without her panties.

San Diego officials, meanwhile, are livid and embarrassed by the whole affair.

Jerry Sanders, the Republican Mayor who preceded the Democratic Filner, worried about the effects the scandal might have on the San Diego business community: “We are hearing companies saying: ‘why would we move to San Diego?’ With this going on, the city is the absolute ridicule of the country.”

Important Implications for Your Unbearable Workplace Situation?

If you’ve ever had to deal with an impulsive, sexually aggressive, or just bizarre boss, Jackson’s allegations against Filner might hit a nerve.

Fortunately, there are concrete, effective legal steps you can take to shield your rights, get compensated for what’s happened, and prevent other people at your company from having to go through what you gone through. Connect with Joseph & Kirschenbaum now at (212) 688-5640 or for a free consultation.

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