A Tale of Two California Harassment Lawsuits

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Los Angeles, CA Two separate California harassment lawsuits, each involving two students and each alleging harassment on the part of staff at a post-secondary institution: what are the odds?

One of the California harassment lawsuits involves two female graduate students who have filed suit against UCLA, alleging that officials with the university failed to act on complaints of sexual harassment against a history professor. The plaintiffs are Nefertiti Takla and Kristen Hillaire Glasgow. The two women claim in court documents that they have endured emotional distress and are fearful that the whole situation has damaged their studies. They are also, according to a published report in the Los Angeles Times (6/16/15), fearful of returning to the UCLA campus.

The plaintiffs claim in their lawsuit that university officials, when apprised of allegations involving suggestive comments and unwanted advances, urged the two women to keep mum on the subject and refrain from pursuing formal investigations.

The harassment lawsuit holds that the accused began harassing plaintiff Glasgow in 2008, and that the harassment continued until 2013. Plaintiff Takla also alleges sexual harassment. The lawsuit, filed in June, names as defendants the regents of the University of California. The case is Nefertiti Takla and Kristen Hillaire Glasgow, Plaintiffs, vs. The Regents of the University of California, Case No. 2:15-cv-4418, US District Court, Central District of California, Western Division.

A separate California harassment lawsuit was filed last month in Orange County Superior Court against Cypress College. In their lawsuit, plaintiffs Gabriela Rodas and Porcia Ruiz allege sexual harassment at the hands of a Spanish teacher in 2013. According to the Orange County Register (8/6/15), when the plaintiffs complained to college officials about verbal and physical harassment, they were told that the teacher “has his rights,” according to the report.

The California harassment lawsuit alleges the accused would compliment the women on their clothing. But the accused would also repeatedly touch the plaintiff’s arms and backs, and gaze at their bodies in a sexually suggestive manner. The accused is alleged to have said that he wanted to tell them more but couldn’t because he “would get in trouble because it was inappropriate,” according to the suit.

At one point, the accused embraced one of the women in a bear hug from behind and allegedly touched her breasts and chest, the suit claims. The plaintiffs claim that when they reported this alleged behavior to a dean, they were told that little could be done: “My hands are tied,” is alleged to have been the reply. It is alleged in the California Harassment lawsuit that the same college dean later telephoned one of the plaintiffs and informed her that district administrators had considered transferring her to another school because the accused “has his rights.” The plaintiff’s reply: “What about MY rights?”

The Harassment lawsuit was filed in North Orange County Superior Court in August. Defendants named include Cypress College and the North Orange County Community College District. The lawsuit is Gabriela Rodas, et al v. Cypress College, et al, Case No. 8:2015-cv-00062.

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