UC Irvine Sexual Harassment Accusations, Scientist Resigns

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Denis ZilberbergJune 22, 2018Sexual Harassment

According to reports in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week, a prize-winning scientist has resigned from his role at UC Irvine after the university found he had sexually harassed or assaulted four people. Francisco J. Ayala, a geneticist who has previously won the Templeton Prize in respect of contributing to human spiritual progress, has resigned with effect from 1 July following the university’s decision. Due to these offenses, which involve Ayala sexual harassing a graduate student, as well as three members of staff – a professor, an assistant teaching professor, and an assistant dean – it has been mooted that his name may also be removed from the biological sciences building to which he donated $10 million several years ago.

The university began investigating the accusations against Ayala in Fall 2017 and recently came to the conclusion that he is guilty of improperly touching, or making sexual comments to, all four women.

The Facts About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Although this particular case features the male aggressor and female victims, this is not always true. While many of us perceive sexual harassment cases to have this dynamic – and it is true in the majority of them – the reality is not quite so clear-cut. Sexual harassment can also take many forms, and is not always immediately obvious, even to the victim. Even where sexual harassment takes on a more discreet form, it can be incredibly damaging to the victim and, of course, is entirely unacceptable. As such, it is imperative that everyone in the workplace is aware of the facts about sexual harassment, and dedicated to acting immediately when an offense is suspected.

Some of the key facts about sexual harassment, in Los Angeles and elsewhere, include:

  • Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual or suggestive nature can be considered harassment
  • Both male and female employees can be guilty of sexual harassment, and need not be of the opposite sex to their victim
  • The victim is not necessarily the target of the harassment, but anyone who is affected by it
  • The harasser may be a senior manager, supervisor, or colleague, but may also be somebody not employed at that particular place of work

While not all cases of sexual harassment will belong to one of the following categories, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys regularly handle, and win, lawsuits arising from:

  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Suggestive or explicit emails or text messages
  • Explicit content displayed or communicated in the workplace
  • Comments of a sexual nature that are not welcomed by the recipient
  • Those in positions of authority asking employees for sexual favors in return for promotion or pay increase
  • Requesting details of a colleague’s sex life

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In short, if you are on the receiving end of comments or behavior which make you feel uncomfortable or intimidated, you may benefit from the legal representation of a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney.

Speak to a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney Today

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you deserve representation from an attorney who will fight to protect your legal rights. For an initial consultation, call The Kaufman Law Firm today on 310-981-3404.


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