The sexual harassment claims the City and Mayor Filner settled on Friday, August 23rd, no longer will leave the city in suspense, but, the Mayor's resignation the city accepted does not necessarily mean San Diegans have heard the last word on Filner's alleged counts of misconduct. Under federal law, the city still has strict liability for its mayor's actions.
Any money judgment against the city an accuser might ask for will not leave the city with its hands tied, and the taxpayers responsible for paying the bill. The city can ask Bob Filner to reimburse the cost to the city.
The mayor set to serve his last day on Friday, August 30th, will still have his own liability. Any claims for money by women Filner failed to flatter, while not serving as mayor, would demand Filner pay the price.
City councilmembers did not act to call off criminal charges.
Settlement on the former communications director's claims does not tie up all the loose ends in the highly publicized case. Councilmembers simply no longer have to act, in her case, to fulfill the city's obligation to enforce the federal sexual harassment law.
While no one is now holding their breath, waiting for a "better understanding of the situation," Filner, in July, after the lawsuit was filed, hoped would tie up the case after due process findings were made, the settlement has not taken away concerns on tolerance for violations of the city's sexual harassment policy in its equal employment opportunity policy. Even proof on a federal claim does not end a city servant's liability for violations of the city's policy.
Sexual comments and jokes, the kind the resigning Mayor, on Friday, told the public, were "proven by rumor and innuendo," remain touchy ways to act in city government. Acts that can get counted as an offense.
The EEO policy prevents break downs in "fair and equal treatment," for an employee, or a volunteer. "Unwelcome, unsolicited, and/or unwanted behavior," that causes offense or disturbs an employee is behavior an employee does not have to withstand. And, claims can be made.
Taking an opportunity to come together and enjoy social relations in city government is fair play. Filner's attempts at "relationships" did not avoid the claims he is at fault. But, "the policy does not prohibit mutually welcome social relationships between employees." City servants simply "must exercise caution."
Whether the social behavior is wrong or right, in the end, still is up to the city's employees.
This is the latest article in Breaking Light of Truth on Mondays. To read the last article, read