District judge rejects retaliation claim by former UC Berkeley administrator

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A United States district judge dismissed retaliation claims made by former UC Berkeley administrator Diane Pierotti, on the grounds that the filing fell outside of the time frame granted by the statute of limitations.

Pierotti, who served as assistant vice chancellor for Research Enterprise Services until February 2012, argued that she was fired from campus in May 2012 for whistleblowing allegedly illegal activity by the university. The UC Board of Regents, however, cited Pierotti’s violation of UC policy by engaging in a sexual relationship with her subordinate as the reason for her termination.

Pierotti subsequently filed a retaliation claim in August 2017, alleging that she was discriminated against because of her age and gender. According to the document, Pierotti claimed that “other male and younger employees did not suffer the same actions as (she) did” after the news broke of her affair with a subordinate.

In her charge, Pierotti claimed that the UC Board of Regents “failed to investigate my whistleblower complaint regarding a financial conflict of interest and intimidation by a faculty member, released my personal information and did not follow the grievance procedures, while they investigated complaints, did not release personal information, and followed the grievance procedures for male employees.”

The UC Board of Regents stated that Pierotti’s charge of discrimination was barred by the statute of limitations, which gives a three-year time frame for bringing forth retaliation claims. The latest date that Pierotti could have filed her claim was three years after her termination date, May 8, 2012. Pierotti filed the charge in 2017, which was more than two years after the statute ran out.

Additionally, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. ruled that Pierotti did not present a compelling enough argument in favor of retaining the claim. According to the docket, Pierotti did not mention the alleged sexual harassment she experienced and did not provide evidence that clerical error led to missing the deadline to file the claim.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email that campus was “satisfied with the ruling issued on Friday.”

Revati Thatte is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.