LA County Animal Control Officer Alleges Sexual Harassment

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Denis ZilberbergDecember 16, 2019Sexual Harassment

Nobody should ever have to worry about being sexually harassed at work. Unfortunately, we know that these problems exist and workforces throughout the United States and here in Los Angeles. At The Kaufman Law Firm, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys want to discuss a lawsuit it is currently making its way through the courts in which an LA County animal control officer has alleged sexual harassment and retaliation against her employer.

What Happened With This Officer?

We have learned that a Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control officer has filed a lawsuit against the county. In the lawsuit, Sara Berrelleza alleges that she faced sexual harassment by a coworker and that the false complaints the coworker make against her forced her to accept a demotion out of fear of losing her job.

Berrelleza was hired by the Department in 2008. She attained the rank of animal control officer III in 2015 and was assigned to the Downey facility. The complaint states that animal control supervisor Marcos Vega was reassigned to that same facility from another one in June 2018 because of a sexual harassment complaint against him at his previous facility.

The lawsuit alleges that shortly after his reassignment that Vega began making inappropriate remarks to Berrelleza and that he touched her without her permission. An instructor for the county’s sexual harassment training acknowledged that the behavior by Vega amounted to sexual harassment.

However, when Berrelleza complained about her supervisor about Vega’s behavior, the supervisor “quickly cut plaintiff off and abruptly ended the conversation,” the lawsuit states. On that same day, Berrelleza sought to speak with the manager of the Downey facility but was informed that an internal complaint was filed against her and that she was being transferred to another facility.

The lawsuit alleges that the complaint against Berrelleza was orchestrated by Vega, the very person she was complaining against. The lawsuit says that most of the people at the new facility were friends of Vega and that she was subjected to retaliation. Berrelleza lost overtime opportunities and was issued a “bogus reprimand.”

In March, she was told to accept a demotion to animal control officer II and another transfer or face an involuntary demotion to animal control officer I.

We Can Help With Your Workplace Harassment Problems

If you are somebody you love who has faced harassment or retaliation in the workplace, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. What you have experienced is likely illegal. At The Kaufman Law Firm, our qualified and experienced team will investigate every aspect of your case and work to secure the compensation you are entitled to. This can include:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Lost wages and benefits you are owed
  • Reinstatement to your job if necessary and desired
  • Compensation for any counseling that is necessary
  • Punitive damages against those responsible

When you need a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney, you can contact us for a consultation by clicking here or calling us at 310-981-3404.


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