A leading voice of the Me Too movement at the state Capitol faces further allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior.
An anonymous complaint delivered to the state Assembly by San Diego employment law attorney Dan Gilleon on Thursday alleged that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia regularly discussed graphic sexual encounters in office, belittled staff, and forced them to work on campaign activities while on taxpayer time.
Gilleon identified the complaint as from four of former Garcia aides, who worked with her from 2011 to 2016. He says they wrote the complaint as a reaction to the lawmaker’s prominent role in the outcry against sexual misconduct, including an appearance in Time magazine.
“They’re particularly upset about her gall and the audacity to come forward and act like she’s a true Me Too mover and a true silence-breaker,” Gilleon said. “And they’re saying that’s anything but the truth.”
Gilleon says the former staffers are willing to identify themselves and testify to the Assembly Rules Committee if they’re assured protection from retaliation.
Garcia took an unpaid leave of absence last week after two allegations of unwanted advances and groping at work events.
In a statement on Facebook, Garcia wrote that she’ll wait until the Assembly completes its investigation to respond. “I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully,” the statement read.
Garcia also has been at least temporarily replaced as Assembly chairperson of the Women’s Caucus, which has risen in prominence over the past year.
In a statement today that did not mention her name, the caucus announced it has appointed Assemblywoman Susan Talamentes Eggman as interim chairperson.