In an effort to ensure enforcement of zero tolerance policies when it comes to sexual harassment in California state senate offices, lawmakers have announced steps will be taken to hire outside attorneys for any investigations that involve abuse of or by staff or legislators. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, this breaks a long-standing practice of internally investigating sexual harassment complaints.
It’s also reflective of the national tone with regard to sexual harassment incidents, after the fallout with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement across social media and in numerous rallies and marches. Recently, hundreds marched in Hollywood against sexual harassment, as people from all different professions have come forward to demand accountability for those who commit sexual harassment and the institutions that protect them.
The decision to revise the sexual harassment investigation policies within the California Senate was unveiled hours after there were allegations of inappropriate behavior against Tony Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia. Two capital staffers have accused him of misconduct. One allegation was made by a 19-year-old intern, who alleged Mendoza invited her to his hotel room to drink alcohol, despite her being underage. Another allegation was made by a 19-year-old Senate fellow. Three former aides were reportedly fired after making complaints about the interactions with the young woman. Senate officials have denied there is any connection between those terminations and the sexual harassment complaints. Continue reading