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Female on Female Sexual Harassment Case Filed Against the City of Sacramento

Emanuel Shirazi

Though most sexual harassment cases involve a male superior and a female subordinate, the most recent case out of Sacramento involves two females. A utilities employee in Sacramento, Jewel Mason, recently filed a sexual harassment claim against Elsie Fong, her female supervisor and Program Manager. According to the claim, Fong created a sexually hostile environment for two years. When the plaintiff complained about the sexual harassment she was experiencing, she claims she was denied a permanent position in the department as retaliation.

Fong allegedly contributed to a sexually hostile work environment by wearing excessively provocative clothing, purposely displaying her undergarments, complimenting Mason’s appearance, asking Mason personal questions about her life, intimately hugging Mason, and repeatedly directing sexual behavior towards Mason. The plaintiff also claims that Fong told her the job benefits were contingent upon Mason submitting to sexual acts.

In March of 2014, Mason made a complaint to Fong’s superiors. Though the harassment improved for a few weeks, the plaintiff claims Fong took away two of her paid vacation days around this time. Fong was also overhead admitting as well as bragging about the harassment allegations. In October 2014, Mason made a formal discrimination claim against Fong with the EEOC. Though Fong was moved from the city’s utilities department, Mike Malone, another manager, retaliated against the plaintiff. Not only did Malone also harass Mason, but he also reduced her job responsibilities. The plaintiff believes that she was denied a permanent position as well as a parking spot because of her complaint to the EEOC.

This is the third sexual harassment claim the city has seen in the last few months. The first was a claim against Mayor Kevin Johnson that was thrown out in May. The second claim comes from a former staff member of city councilman Alan Warren. Warren was allegedly using his authority to coerce subordinates into sexual acts. When the staff member refused to continue the sexual relationship, he fired her.

Do you think these women are actually being sexual harassed or do you think it is an example of following the trend?

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