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Dean Sujit Choudhry of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law is being sued for sexual harassment by his former executive assistant.

The complaint, which was originally filed in Alameda County Superior Court, names Dean Choudhry, as well as the University of California Board of Regents, as defendants.

A thorough investigation of this case found that Dean Choudhry’s behavior in this situation violated policy, and that he demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment. – Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele told a local news channel earlier this year

Choudhry, who was appointed as the Dean of the Berkeley School of Law in 2015, has been forced to take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his post as a result of these sexual harassment allegations.

A Closer Look at the Sexual Harassment Allegations 

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Accused of Sexual Harassment

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Accused of Sexual Harassment

According to court documents associated with this case, the plaintiff alleges that Dean Choudhry’s made inappropriate advances towards her for nearly eight months, starting in 2014.

In addition to alleging sexual harassment, the plaintiff is also contending:

  • Failure to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and retaliation
  • Retaliation
  • Infliction of emotional distress
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Failure to discharge a mandatory statutory duty.

As the complaint explains, the plaintiff reportedly became the target of unwanted sexual advances in July 2014, when Dean Choudhry allegedly started to give her bear hugs and kisses.

The plaintiff reported these unwanted advances to UC Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD), triggering an investigation of the allegations. During the investigation, Dean Choudhry reportedly admitted to kissing, hugging, massaging and/or caressing the plaintiff several times a week. Ultimately, the OPHD determined that Dean Choudhry had violated the University’s sexual harassment policies.

Taking corrective action, the University disciplined Dean Choudhry by reducing his salary by 10 percent for a year and demanding that he write an apology letter to the plaintiff.

UC Berkeley Alleged to Have Fostered Harassment

The allegations in this case are not only focused on Dean Choudhry. They are also pointed at the Board of Regents.

In fact, the complaint alleges that, following the OPHD investigation, the Board of Regents did not terminate Dean Choudhry from his position, opening up the possibility for repeat violations and continued sexual harassment in the future.

The damages that the plaintiff is seeking from the Dean and the UC Board of Regents have not be disclosed, and it remains to be seen whether the Dean and the Board will fight these allegations in court – or whether both defendants will make an effort to resolve this case prior to trial via an out-of-court (and likely confidential) settlement.

When more news about this case becomes available, we’ll report the latest updates to you here, in a future blog. In the meantime, please share your opinions with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Moon & Yang 

If you been the target of workplace sexual harassment – or if an employer has violated your rights as a worker in any way, you can turn to an experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer at Moon & Yang for answers about your options for justice and recovery. Contact us by calling (213) 232-3128 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page to schedule an initial consult with one of our attorneys and find out more about how we can help you.

Categories: Sex/Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination