Former UCSF researcher sues UC regents, UCSF professor for alleged sex harassment

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Kore Chan/Senior Staff

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Eunice Neeley, a former postdoctoral researcher with the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents on Wednesday.

Among other complaints, Neeley is suing for hostile work environment due to harassment based on sex, failure to prevent harassment and retaliation, and negligent retention of an unfit employee, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendant, UCSF professor Stanton Glantz, sexually harassed Neeley, along with a number of her female colleagues. Glantz was Neeley’s supervisor, mentor and adviser at the time.

“Professor Glantz abused his authority and prestige at UCSF and sexually harassed Neeley, and other female subordinates, and subjected them to misogynistic and racially insensitive behavior,” the statement alleges.

During Neeley’s interview with Glantz in 2015, he allegedly stared at Neeley’s breasts, and he has repeated similar behaviors with other women in the office, according to the complaint. The complaint also claims that Glantz made inappropriate sexual remarks in the workplace.

“Neeley finally reported the harassment to UCSF, but no immediate action was taken,” the complaint states. “Instead, UCSF and Glantz retaliated against Neeley by removing authorship credit for a paper she researched and wrote, impacting her career and reputation to others.”

Neeley is seeking significant emotional distress damages because of the seriousness of sexual harassment allegations, according to San Francisco attorney Kelly Armstrong. Though the lawsuit alleges that multiple women have been harassed, Neely is the only plaintiff seeking legal aid. She is also seeking injunctive relief for the authorship of a research paper that Glantz plans to publish without her name listed as an author.

According to the complaint, Neeley was forced to leave UCSF because of the “intolerable” work environment and the alleged failure of UCSF and the regents to take immediate action and prevent Glantz’s ongoing harassment.

This is the first complaint of its kind brought before Glantz.

“It takes incredible courage for women to come forward against sexual harassment perpetrators,” Armstrong said. “It is only now that many women feel safe and able to come forward.”

Armstrong added that she hopes to send a strong message that sexual harassment in the 21st century is unacceptable and that the lawsuit contributes to the wave of accountability that is rapidly gaining momentum.

Neeley is being represented by Armstrong Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


Ani Vahradyan is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied there was more than one plaintiff in the lawsuit. In fact, while there are allegations from numerous victims, Neeley is the only plaintiff.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article also stated that the plaintiff is seeking damages for revenue due to the authorship of the tobacco research paper. In fact, she is asking for injunctive relief.