Details of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner ‘s sexual harassment of women have now emerged. These include the forcible kissing of two constituents and grabbing the buttocks and breast of a staff member. In a City Hall elevator, Filner told a female staffer that women employees would do better “if they worked without their panties on.” It has been reported that Filner’s behavior toward women was so egregious and despicable that women who worked for him called him a “dirty old man” and coined the phrases “the Filner headlock” and “the Filner dance” to describe how he isolates women and then makes unwanted advances.
Two hours before these details emerged, the Democrat mayor issued a statement saying he would not resign and that a fair investigation would find him innocent of sexual harassment. “As your elected mayor, I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions,” Filner said in his statement. “But as a citizen of this country, I also expect – and am entitled to – due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations.”
Filner has since told San Diego reporters that his behavior has been misinterpreted. “I’m a hugger of both men and women,” he said. He said he has apologized to his staff. Though Filner admitted to treating women poorly, he stopped short of admitting to the harassment. He also promised to seek professional help, take a sexual harassment class and apologize to women he may have offended.
A lawyer for the victims, Marco Gonzales, has said that a harassment claim will be filed against the city. Lawsuits are also a possibility, he said. “This mayor cannot control himself,” Gonzalez said. “He does not deserve to be the mayor of this city any longer.”
This type of sexual harassment and misconduct presents a hostile work environment claim and occurs all too often in the workplace.