Six Women Accuse Orange County, California Democratic Party of Sexual Harassment

Six Women Accuse Orange County, California Democractic Party of Sexual Harassment

As part of the nationwide social media #MeToo campaign, wherein women across the country are standing together by admitting they were victims of sexual harassment at some point in the past, several women have accused the Orange County Democratic party and the County Labor Union of sexual abuse and harassment. The incidents allegedly occurred in 2015 and complain of incidents by two men (including a democratic congressional candidate).

In one account of a 2015 incident, a woman claims that one of the men touched her thigh, causing her to flee in fear. Similarly, other accounts state that men allegedly pushed up against other women and attempted to remove their underwear. All of the women claim they did not report the incidents at the time because they felt powerless to do so.

In response to the allegations, the party claims it will offer training for its members and organizations, and will also implement a code of conduct to prevent further incidents from occurring within the party and among its candidates and volunteers.  Given the high-profile accusations against large-scale democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, it appears these latest allegations may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scandal within political party regional offices.

Check out Syntrio's Anti-Harassment Training

People often think of sexual harassment prevention training as isolated to traditional workplaces. But as the incidents above illustrate, volunteer situations like campaign offices, charity work, and other non-traditional work environments are also ripe for harassment due to the wide variety of power imbalances and transient nature of the work. People often think they can behave inappropriately because they will not see their victims after a finite period of time, and this sort of mentality is simply wrong and illegal.

Victims should be encouraged to report incidents of abuse and harassment immediately. Once these incidents are reported, victims should also be encouraged to involve the authorities where (as here) the conduct is criminal in nature. Simply sweeping incidents under the rug are what perpetuates a culture of fear and self-blame, and all too often incidents go unreported. There have been over 12 million status changes to #MeToo since actress Alyssa Milano started the campaign, and women are now feeling empowered to report illegal misconduct in the workplace and in the public at large.

It is up to employers and organizations to instill cultural safeguards prohibiting harassment and encouraging the reporting of any such misconduct. Now that we are seeing the sheer number of incidents that go unreported, we must ensure that women (and men) feel empowered to come forward when bosses, co-workers, and other people at their place of work or volunteer sites act in such a despicable manner.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio


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