2 UC Riverside employees violated UC sexual harassment policy in 2016

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Two sexual harassment complaints were filed against UC Riverside employees in 2016 for allegedly creating a hostile work environment, according to documents obtained by The Daily Californian.

The documents indicate that the investigations concluded that the respondents violated UC Title IX policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH. Both investigations followed procedures set forth in the UC SVSH policy effective January 2016.

UCR has adopted a comprehensive approach to dealing with SVSH cases, including case management and coordinated response teams. Additionally, UCR has a strict policy prohibiting retaliation against complainants who file for SVSH, according to an email from UCR spokesperson Johnny Cruz.

“At UC Riverside, we have an institutional commitment to prevention and robust processes to address incidents when they occur,” Cruz said in an email. “We view each instance as unacceptable and respond with appropriate consequences, in accordance with UC policy and federal and state law.”

The Daily Cal obtained these documents as part of a series of California Public Records Act requests regarding sexual misconduct cases throughout the UC system.

Details of each case are summarized below:

Unwarranted advances

In October 2016, the UCR Title IX Office initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and creation of a hostile work environment. The complainant alleged that the respondent called her names such as “boo” and “baby girl,” and grabbed her hand unwarranted while at work, according to the report.

The complainant also said she had lost her phone at work, and when she told the respondent, he allegedly asked for a hug and her phone number in return for her phone. As a result, the complainant said she felt uncomfortable going to the stockroom.

The respondent said he did not know the complainant outside of the workplace and did not remember any of the incidents. He also denied grabbing the complainant’s hand and calling her “boo,” according to the report.

A letter attached to the end of the report indicated that an unnamed employee of UC Riverside Housing, Dining and Residential Services employee was suspended after the allegations of sexual harassment.

Suspension is the most serious disciplinary action taken by UCR aside from termination, according to an email from Cruz.

Physical touching

In January 2017, Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation began an investigation into a November 2016 complaint alleging that a respondent sexually harassed a woman over an eight-year period.

According to the report, the respondent allegedly made inappropriate comments about women, massaged several female employees’ necks and shoulders, asked the complainant to help him with personal projects and withheld assistance if the complainant did not comply with his requests.

The respondent acknowledged that he applied “momentary, light pressure” to female employees’ shoulders but denied doing so with ill intent. Additionally, the respondent denied forcing the complainant to assist him with personal projects, according to the report.

The respondent resigned prior to termination, Cruz said in an email.

Contact Revati Thatte at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.