Filner lawyer blames city for not providing sexual harassment training

"Many – if not most – people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law"

Topics: Bob Filner, San Diego, California, Sexual Harassment, mayor,

An attorney for Bob Filner argued that the City Council should cover the San Diego mayor’s legal fees, because the city never provided Filner with sexual harassment training.

“The city has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees,” wrote Filner’s attorney Harvey Berger, in a letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. He continued: ”This is not an excuse for any inappropriate behavior which may have occurred, but having conducted sexual harassment training many times over the years, I have learned that many – if not most – people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law.”

Berger added: “The city may be strictly liable for any sexual harassment by a supervisor, even if it had no reason to know of it. So, of course, the city should have a strong interest in making certain that Mayor Filner has the resources to defend himself.”



Berger’s letter came just before the City Council unanimously voted against covering Filner’s legal fees, and then unanimously voted to sue Filner over the multiple allegations of sexual harassment made against him.

A total of eight women have accused Filner of sexual harassment, including his former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, who has filed a lawsuit against him.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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