UC Berkeley employee launches investigation for ‘wrongful termination’

Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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Alik Lee, a former UC Berkeley employee, is cooperating with officials to investigate his termination Jan. 5, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Lee was hired as an administrative officer for the Berkeley Seismology Lab, or BSL, and department of earth and planetary sciences, or ESP, in April 2017.

BSL Director Richard Allen informed Lee that he was being terminated because Lee was “not a good fit for the department,” according to the press release. Lee also names EPS Administrative Manager Veronica Padilla as the other party who “signed off” on his termination.

After a meeting with female graduate students, during which some brought up issues of sexual harassment in the department, Lee scheduled a meeting with university investigators. Lee was fired three days before the meeting, and said he believes this to be the cause of his termination.

“In the eight months I worked there, no one ever said they had a problem with my work ethic, production, or professionalism,” Lee said. “There are a lot of questions about this situation and the university will be providing us with answers one way or another.”

Lee studied political science during his academic career at UC Berkeley and graduated in 1995.

“UC Berkeley is aware of the allegations that have been made public and is looking into them,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore.

Although the campus cannot discuss the allegations because they are a “confidential employee matter,” Gilmore added that more generally, employee complaints alleging harassment, discrimination or retaliation are handled though processes within the campus’s human resources department, which assigns an investigator to collect information.

“The campus is dedicated to providing a workplace that not only is free of discrimination and retaliation, but one that fosters a supportive and welcoming environment where employees can do their best work,” Gilmore said.

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