Sexual Harassment at Southern California College

Two female students at Cypress College, Gabriela Rodas and Porcia Ruiz, are suing the school for failing to take their sexual harassment claims seriously. The students allege that they were sexually harassed by their Spanish 102 professor Edgar Alex Herrera in the fall of 2013. When they complained, they were allegedly told by an administrator that the teacher had his rights.The girls are now suing the school because the school’s administration failed to fulfill their legal obligation of reporting the sexual harassment. Instead, they were told that transfer to a different school might be the best option. 

Some of the things the students claim Herrera did include complimenting their outfits, touching them, giving them unwanted hugs, and suggestively sizing them up. At one moment, he also allegedly told one of the girls that he wished he could say more, but that he was afraid he would get in trouble for being inappropriate.This comment suggests that Herrera was aware of the boundaries he was crossing.

In addition to sexual harassment, the students are also alleging civil rights violations, gender discrimination, and negligence. 

Failure to adequately investigate and prevent claims of sexual harassment is illegal for employers.  What do you think the College’s duties were here?

Interested in reading more sexual harassment cases? Check out this one that occured at UCLA or this one that happened at UC-San Diego.

*image by Sodanie Chea, Flickr

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