California Capital Under Fire For Lack Of Consequences For Those Accused Of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

It was about three years ago when the California state Senate launched an investigation into the actions of top legislative staffer Steve Davey, who had been accused of sexual harassment. Davey was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation was being concluded and would eventually resign after being requested to do so by Senator Ted Gaines, Davey’s employer.

The actions by lawmakers in the matter appeared to be swift and decisive.

What is now known however is that Davey was not deprived of employment by Gaines. In fact, Gaines hired Davey to another position within his campaign and even retained the services of Davey after the allegations against him were confirmed to be true.

A review of recently released documents on the part of the San Francisco Chronicle has alerted to the fact that Davey’s situation is not an isolated one. What is shown by many of these documents is that employees of the state legislature that have been accused or proven to be guilty of sexual improprieties in many cases have suffered no long-term consequences to their careers.

In some cases, accused staffers that lost jobs even came out ahead with better positions. One staffer, who was disciplined over sexual abuse allegations went on to become a state assemblyman. Another staffer, who was fired for sexual misconduct, appointed to a higher paying position three months later.

In contrast, many of the employees who have come forward with allegations against staffers are seemingly suffering much harsher blows to their careers. Records show that many of these employees were made to sign non-disclosure agreements after being dismissed from jobs. These employees were also told that they would not be allowed to apply for positions with the either the Assembly or the Senate in the future.

Kristina Zahn, who once worked as a legislative staffer, said that her ordeal began shortly after she complained of sexual harassment that she experienced while working with Assemblyman Steve Fox. Zahn says she was fired in 2013 and was would file suit and eventually reach a settlement with the Assembly two years later. Zahn received $110,000 to replace the pay she had lost and cover attorney fees but was told that she could never again apply for employment with the Assembly again.

The state Capitol has been in damage control mode since the month of October when 140 women came forward with complaints against the handling by the state legislature of sexual harassment complaints.