Addressing Sexual Harassment in California

Nancy Kathleen used to be a personal assistant for former California State Assembly Member Steve Fox, and she has a story to tell. She says that she has a list of the chores that she considered demeaning when they were assigned to her by her boss. This included personal chores such as buying blankets and shower curtains for him. At the same time, she says that Mr. Fox would appear at the door of his apartment without pants when she came to pick him up. This was tough for the legislative director when she resorted to making her complaints to the Assembly Rules Committee. For her experience, she said that she felt as if she was the one on trial. The meeting began with her being threatened and berated using her job performance by the former assembly member. Things turned nasty for her a month later after making the complaints as she was fired. However, when Ms. Finnigan took the case to court this year, she was awarded approximately $100,000 from the state’s assembly. The court further ruled that she was wrongfully terminated by retaliating for the sexual harassment complaint. However, she is not alone in this as a number of women in the state of California say that they have been subjected to such issues.

This has seen over 200 women sign a letter in the state denouncing the culture where women are constantly harassed sexually while working for the government in Sacramento. These women continue complaining that they are being groped by their male counterparts in their places of work, especially the high ranking officials. Women say that they are constantly threatened. They also complain about the broken human resource departments that don’t take their issues seriously. This comes after a series of interviews with lobbyists and legislative aides who have experienced harassment for years. During the interviews, the women complained that the current system is broken and they are left with few options in the event of harassment. The story of sexual harassment has become an issue in many places in America. Other than Sacramento, reports of misconduct have reported in other state’s capitals such as Rhode Island, Oregon, Oklahoma, Nevada, Iowa and even Illinois. This is an indication that government positions are still dominated by the males. While there are systems to protect women against the harassment, many women in California and elsewhere have said that they don’t trust the systems.


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